The world of finance has been marred with countless examples of financial crime, leading to billions of dollars lost and many ruined lives in its wake. From large-scale frauds to insider trading, financial criminals have wreaked havoc on the global economy. Here are five of the most notorious financial criminals whose stories still shock us today:
1. Bernard Madoff
Madoff is perhaps the most famous financial criminal in history for his infamous Ponzi scheme. He bilked millions out of investors via a $65 billion scam that lasted for decades. He was eventually sentenced to 150 years in prison for his crimes and ordered to forfeit $17 billion, although only a fraction of that money was ever recovered.
2. Allen Stanford
Stanford defrauded investors out of $7 billion by peddling certificates of deposit from his offshore bank Antiguan International Bank Ltd., which he used to fund a luxurious lifestyle filled with private jets and luxury watches. Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison after being convicted on thirteen counts related to fraud, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy.
3. Raj Rajaratnam
Rajaratnam is one of the largest hedge fund managers ever convicted for insider trading on Wall Street. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison after being found guilty of 14 counts related to securities fraud and conspiracy charges. His conviction resulted in the first-ever jail term given to an American hedge fund manager, as well as a record fine set at $92 million dollars by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
4. Marc Dreier
Dreier took advantage of tight credit markets during the recession by selling fake promissory notes backed by nonexistent collateral through his law firm, Dreier LLP, bilking clients out of more than $700 million dollars over several years before being arrested in 2008 by FBI agents in Toronto’s Pearson Airport while attempting to flee the country. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud conspiracy and other offenses related to his fraudulent activities as well as restitution payments amounting to up to $400 million dollars owed to victims who were defrauded by his company’s schemes
5. Ken Lay
Lay created what was once one of the largest corporations in America; Enron Corporation, an energy giant which ultimately collapsed due to its mismanagement and fraudulent practices such as accounting scandals perpetrated by its top executives including Lay himself who died before the sentence could be passed down upon him but he was found guilty on all 10 counts against him which included securities fraud, wire fraud and other violations that caused Enron’s collapse leaving thousands without jobs or pensions while losing billions worth investments from shareholders after it filed bankruptcy in December 2001.