Social Game Lets Mobile Phone Users Try Bernie Madoff-Style Scams

A social game for web-capable mobile phones parodies rogue financier Bernie Madoff’s long-running Ponzi scheme, reports CNNmoney.

Made Off, available from publisher Cellufun, allows players to create virtual scams of their owns, promising other players investment returns of up to 20%. Player need to continually attract new "investors" in order to pay back the older ones, lest their Ponzi scheme collapse. No real money is involved. Instead, players trade "cellupoints."

Cellufun CEO Neil Edwards, who says his game pokes fun at the jailed Madoff, not his victims, told CNN/money that Made Off has an educational component:

When your fund goes broke, you go, ‘Holy crap, I didn’t invite enough people… There is a lot of misconception and confusion on what happened. People don’t really understand a Ponzi scheme."

A blurb on the game’s website describes the action:

Play as a slimy Fund Manager, a savvy Investor, or both. The game will end without warning when the Feds finally crack down on the Cellufun community, and people managing Funds will get to keep all the Cellupoints invested in them. Investors will keep all the Cellupoints they’ve acquired through interest payments as well. And we’ll give trophies to those who have "made off" with the most profits…

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