10 CEOs turned crooks

1. Allen Stanford

Company: Stanford Financial Group

Convicted: 2012

The former CEO of Stanford Financial Group was charged on 21 counts including obstruction of justice, money laundering and fraud. 

The Texan billionaire was accused of orchestrating a $7bn scheme advising clients to buy certificates of deposit from the Antigua-based Stanford International bank.

Before the fraud charges, Stanford’s personal fortune was estimated at $2.2bn by Forbes magazine.

The executive was sentenced to 110 years in prison.

2. Bernie Ebbers

Company: WorldCom

Convicted: 2005

Ebbers turned WorldCom into America’s second telecommunications company through a series of acquisitions that left the firm in serious financial trouble.

In 2002 Ebbers admitted to improperly reporting almost $4bn in expenses which triggered the Justice Department’s investigation into business practice. WorldCom also personally loaned the CEO $400m.

Ebbers was found guilty of fraud, conspiracy and filing false reports with regulators and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

3. Bernard Madoff 

Company: Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC

Convicted: 2009

The king of all CEOs turned crooks, Madoff is perhaps the history’s biggest fraudster, with a £65bn Ponzi scheme that spanned over a decade.

The firm started as a penny stock trader with the equivalent of $40,000 in today’s currency which the CEO earned from working as a lifeguard and sprinkler installer. 

Madoff conned thousands of investors, country-club counterparts, charitable foundations, celebrities and finance tycoons with the help of two office workers who created false trading reports based on the returns that Madoff ordered for each customer. 

He was arrested in December 2008 and sentenced to 150 years in prison.

4. Sam Israel

Company: Bayou Group hedge fund

Convicted: 2008

The hedge fund group was founded in 1996 by Sam Israel who defrauded its investors from the start with funds being misappropriated for personal use. 

The Connecticut-based executive was convicted for defrauding investors of more than $450m and sentenced to 20 years in prison. 

Instead of reporting for jail, Israel faked his own suicide, but the authorities managed to catch the fugitive a month later. He received an additional ten years in jail.

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