1) Bernie Ebbers
A cowboy hat and boot wearing businessman and previous nightclub bouncer, built World.com from modest beginnings to telecom worth over $175 billion at the height of stock market boom by relentlessly acquiring assets in 1998, he masterminded a $37 billion merger with MCL, America’s long distance Phone companies.
But as dot.com ran out of steam, they resorted to accounting tricks for maintaining appearance of ever-growing profitability.
The fraud failed to keep the company afloat.
Mr Ebbers was forced to step down as CEO, and later the company admitted $11 billon accounting fraud. This was America’s biggest ever bankruptcy in 2004.
Me. Ebbers was found guilty of fraud conspiracy and filing false documents with regulators. In 2005, he was sentenced to 25 years in jail.
2) Nick Lesson – working with Barings Bank, respectable and long established Bank in City of London. He was trading futures on monetary exchange in Singapore, taking bets on future of Japanese stock market when the market particularly plummeted wrong after Kobe earthquake in 1995 led Asian stocks to big losses. He did not inform the superiors. He then made series of risky investments in attempts to recoupe the cash. These failed and made huge losses of $1.4 trillion. Mr Lesson went on run to Hongkong. He was apprehended in Germany and brought to Singapore, for serving 6.5 years in prison.
Barrings collapsed and was bought by ING, a Dutch Insurance giant for a nominal sum of 1£.
3) Bernard Madoff
A pillar of NY investment community, was finally undone by financial crisis that led from credit crunch in 2007. This distinguished , kindly looking old gent ran an investment biz that in retrospect, oddly offered stable, though hardly stable, returns. The biz looked hardly spectacular, returns. The business looked like a giant Ponzi scheme that paid long handsome returns, to long outstanding clients who provided new investors.He was arrested in 2008, after admitting to his sons that his empire was a sham.
He swindled investors, many of whom were wealthy Jews- $65 billion, in an operation ‘extra ordinarily evil’. He was sentenced to 150 years. He operated with a small team and tiny audit firm which just ‘rubber stamped’ his transactions.
4) Yoshiaki Tsunami – world’s richest man at the height of Japan’s property boom in late 1980s. He inherited real estate from his father, who owned sixth of land in Japan. In 2005, he was arrested on suspicion of falsifying shareholders’ information. Also sold shares on manipulated data. He pleaded guilty. He was given suspended jail sentence and a fine of¥5 million (about$42000).
Thanks to friends and few journalists’ talks and discussions.