As the world’s eyes turn to Wall Street as a source of financial distress, maybe its time to look at the corporate criminals who have decimated our financial system. White collar or corporate criminals have ripped off the public for billions of dollars and helped destabilize our economy.
Here are five corporate criminals who have achieved notoriety through their dirty dealings.
5. Dennis Kozlowski
Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco International, is currently in jail for receiving illegal bonuses from his company while shareholders were being defrauded. Kozlowski would be charged with stealing more than $150 million from the company along with chief financial officer at the time, Mark H. Swartz.
Kozlowski would famously throw lavish parties on the company’s dime, including one with vodka spewing out of the penises of statues.
4. Jack Abramoff
Jack Abramoff was a college Republican turned lobbyist who would wind up up being at the center of one of the biggest political corruption scandals in U.S. history.
Abramoff had access to the Bush administration and several other top Republicans and was a very powerful lobbyist. He would be convicted of defrauding Native American tribe. Abramoff plead guilty to conspiracy, honest services fraud, and tax evasion and was sentenced to six years in prison. He would also cooperate with authorities in bribery investigations on members of the Bush administration.
3. Kenneth Lay
Kenneth Lay was the CEO of Enron, a natural gas company in Houston. He was also friends with both former president George W. Bush and GOP operative Dick Cheney. As his company was on its way to bankruptcy, Lay would sell $300 million worth of his own stock while encouraging employees to buy stock. Lay would be convicted of conspiracy and fraud and would be sentenced to six years in jail. He died before he could even finish his sentence.
2. Michael Milken
Michael Milken is a Wall Street financier who is credited as helping create “junk bonds.”
In 1989, Milken was the first person who wasn’t a member of organized crime to be charged with the RICO Act. He was charged with insider trading and racketeering and would plead guilty to six counts of securities and tax violations. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. After serving two years, Milken would rebound and become the 488th richest man in the world in 2010, with a net worth of $2 billion.
1. Bernie Madoff
Bernie Madoff was a Wall Street stockbroker who is credited with the biggest financial fraud in American history. With a “Ponzi Scheme” which would pay investors with other investors money and eventually wind up taking billions away from said investors, Madoff became the most infamous of all white collar criminals pleading guilty to eleven felony counts. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison.