Writer who uncovered original Ponzi scheme gets his due
by Chris Roush
William McMasters, the journalist-turned-PR person who wrote about a financial scam being perpetrated by Charles Ponzi back in 1920 for the Boston Post, was recently honored for his work.
McMasters, who died in 1968, received the annual Sentinel Award — honoring “the selfless act of coming forward for the sole purpose of righting a wrong” — from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Jerry Kronenberg of the Boston Herald writes, “So, he wrote a first-person account of the scheme, which the Post splashed across its Aug. 2, 1920, front page. Post staffers followed up a few days later with an expose revealing that Ponzi had served prison time in Canada.
“The scammer ultimately went to jail for his Boston scam and the Post won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, but gave its staff most of the credit and little recognition to McMasters. He was left to resume his public-relations career, running unsuccessfully for governor in 1938 before quietly living out his days doing freelance writing and teaching journalism classes.
“However, McMasters finally began to get his due in the wake of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
“Months after Madoff’s 2008 arrest, The New York Times wrote a piece about McMasters’ unpublished memoir of his Ponzi experiences turning up in a New York university’s library.”
Read more here.