After the Great Word of the Year Wipeout of 2008 (in which I must've accidentally erased my months-in-the-making list of candidates) I've decided to go ahead and share my observations over the course of the year instead of saving them up to unveil all at once.
Let us begin with mini-Madoffs.
"Their names lack the Dickensian flair of Bernie Madoff, and the money they apparently stole from investors was a small fraction of the $50 billion that Mr. Madoff allegedly lost of his clients’ savings.
"But the number of other people who have been caught running Ponzi schemes in recent weeks is adding up quickly, so much so that they have earned themselves a nickname: mini-Madoffs."—The New York Times (January 27, 2009)