jeudi 24 juin 2010


 A high-yield investment program HYIP is a type of Ponzi scheme, which is an investment scam that promises an unsustainably high return on investment by paying previous investors with the money invested by newcomers.

HYIP operators generally set up a website offering an "investment program" promising returns as high as 45% per month or 6% a day, disclosing little or no detail about the underlying management, location, or other aspects of how money is to be invested. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that "these fraudulent schemes involve the purported issuance, trading, or use of so-called 'prime' bank, 'prime' European bank or 'prime' world bank financial instruments, or other 'high yield investment programs.' (HYIP's) The fraud artists … seek to mislead investors by suggesting that well regarded and financially sound institutions participate in these bogus programs.

Though Ponzi schemes have existed since at least the early 1900s, the rise of digital payment systems has made it much easier for operators of such websites to accept payments from people worldwide. Electronic money systems are generally accepted by HYIP operators because they are more accessible to operators than traditional merchant accounts. Several digital currency companies responded by taking measures to discourage their system from being used for HYIPs.[citation needed] Some HYIP operators opened their own digital currency companies that eventually folded, these companies include Standard Reserve, OSGold, INTGold, EvoCash, and V-Money. StormPay was started in the same way in 2002, but has remained in business even though the HYIP that it was created to serve was shut down by the State of Tennessee.

Some HYIPs have incorporated in countries with lax fraud laws to secure immunity from investor laws in other countries. The operators have been known to host their website with a web host that offers "anonymous hosting". They will use this website to accept transactions from participants in the scheme.
 The HYIP scam may also create sites which employ spamdexing or other adversarial information retrieval techniques in order to attract potential victims by creating an impression that the company has done no wrong.

The largest documented HYIP scam was OSGold, founded as an e-gold imitation in 2001 by David Reed. OSGold folded in 2002. According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in early 2005, the operators of OSGold may have made off with USD $250 million. CNet reported that "at the height of its popularity, the OSGold currency boasted more than 60,000 accounts created by people drawn to promises of "high yield" investments that would provide guaranteed monthly returns of 30 percent to 45 percent.

The second largest documented HYIP was PIPS (People in Profit System or Pure Investors). The investment scheme was started by Bryan Marsden in early 2004 and spanned more than 20 countries. PIPS was investigated by Bank Negara Malaysia in 2005 which resulted in Marsden and his wife being charged in a Malaysian court with 97 counts of money laundering more than 77 million RM, equivalent to $20 million. Even after these charges were brought forth, many of Marsden's followers and investors continued to support him and believe they would see their money in the future.

Some Ponzi schemes promise yields that appear realistic and as such are not considered "high-yield investment programs." Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme offered yields of only 5% per year, for example.