The Wall Street Houdini who created a $20M Ponzi scheme

Wall Street superstar hits rock bottom
Wall Street superstar hits rock bottom   

It's like a made-for-TV thriller.

The trader was so successful making money on Wall Street that he drew comparisons to the famed magician Harry Houdini.

Prosecutors say his ability to pocket returns was nothing more than an intricate illusion.

According to prosecutors, the man behind a $20 million dollar Ponzi scheme claimed he used an algorithmic trading strategy to deliver high returns. Dozens of investors bought in.

The trader collected $20 million over three years, Sarah Wolfe, assistant U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey, told CNBC. She added that the trader used half that amount to support a lavish lifestyle.

Then investments began to go south.