Charles Ponci, Carlo and Charles P. Bianchi were some of the aliases for Charles Ponzi, who lent his name to the infamous pyramid scheme. Mitchell Zuckoff, the author of Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend (Random House, 2005) provides colorful details of the con artist’s doings in a talk at a bookstore in Washington, D.C. The discussion provides compelling historical background for World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu’s article on the economics of Ponzi schemes in the July Scientific American.