Adele Spitzeder (9 February 1832 – 27 or 28 October 1895) was a German
actress, folk singer, and confidence trickster. Initially a promising
young actress, Spitzeder became a private banker in Munich when her
theatrical success dwindled. Running what was possibly the first
recorded Ponzi scheme, she offered large returns on investments by
continually using the money of new investors to pay back the previous
ones. At the height of her success, contemporary sources considered her
the wealthiest woman in Bavaria, although she maintained the persona of
a pious Christian woman who helped the poor. Brought to trial in 1872,
she was convicted of bad accounting and mishandling customers' money,
since Ponzi schemes were not yet illegal, and sentenced to three years
in prison. In her later years, Spitzeder performed as a folk singer,
living off friends and benefactors, but never completely left her
criminal life, resulting in further trials and periods of incarceration.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adele_Spitzeder>
Today's selected anniversaries:
The Svalbard Treaty was signed in Paris, recognizing Norwegian
sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
World War II: A force of Allied aircraft unsuccessfully
attacked a German destroyer in Førde Fjord, Norway.
The American submarine USS Greeneville accidentally collided
with the Ehime Maru (wreckage pictured), a Japanese training vessel
operated by a high school, sinking the latter ship and killing nine
people on board.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. Having the nature of, or containing, gas.
2. (specifically) Of a beverage: containing dissolved gas (usually
carbon dioxide); fizzy.
3. (specifically) Of a person: tending to burp; burpy.
4. (specifically) Of a person: tending to release flatus; flatulent.
5. Of food or drink: tending to cause flatulence.
6. (figuratively, informal) Tending to be long-winded or wordy,
especially in a boastful and vain manner.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
As during the time of kings it would have been naive to think
that the king’s firstborn son would be the fittest to rule, so in our
time it is naive to think that the democratically elected ruler will be
the fittest. The rule of succession is not a formula for identifying the
best ruler, it is a formula for conferring legitimacy on someone or
other and thus forestalling civil conflict.
--J. M. Coetzee
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