My FIL luckily only put 25% of his and his wife's savings into a local ponzi scheme here in the Lamorinda (Bay) Area. It was kinda funny how he was bragging about how much he was making while everything crashed, now at least 2 million is totally gone. The "investment" was run by close friend's of theirs and their circle of friends, almost all of them lost considerable amounts of money (there was a 1 MIL minimum initial investment). One of his friend's had invested his entire retirement savings with them!
It's interesting to have been so close to it all. It was very close to the way Madoff ran his scheme. You had to be "in the know" and "invited" to participate. They had lavish yearly banquets were they all felt special and privileged. It was so obvious from the outside, but when you feel like one of the lucky ones who is allowed in all logic and reason flees.