It’s an age old practice that the rich are never happy with what they have. I’m sure everyone has heard the saying “The rich get richer” before. That just might be because it also seems that the rich get greedier. It’s amazing that when some of these people, who have more money than most of you reding this today will ever have, it’s still not enough to make them happy.
How can a person possibly have a net worth of thirty billion dollars and still need more to be happy? That’s exactly what happened to one guy you’ll read about shortly. It’s not just the men that are greedy either as you’ll read about a woman who was just as greedy, or at least she was just as stupid as the others mentioned here today.
Most, if not all of the people you’ll read about today, acquired billions of dollars legitimately and then greed helped them accumulate billions more illegally. Insider trading, bribery, tax evasion and flat out cheating are some of the most common ways to illegally inflate your bank account.
You’ll also read about some people who just flat out stole their billions from unsuspecting victims. I’m fairly certain that everyone has heard of Bernie Madoff by now. He is just one of the big time thieves mentioned here today. So if you want to make your day a little better, read on and you’ll learn about 20 billionaires who found themselves in jail.
20. Chung Mong-Koo
Mong-Koo is the head of the Hyundai Motors Group and he is worth around $4.4 billion. In South Korea if you have a lot of money, or do something that fits the region well, you are apparently above the law. Mong-Koo proved this in 2007 when he busted for embezzlement among other charges. He was also involved in some complicated insider trading deals that were benefitting his son with enormous returns.
He was originally sentenced to three years in prison but served only two months. He was released and eventually pardoned because he was far too important to the nation’s economy to be in prison. As part of his pardon deal he gave a billion dollars to the country, to do what they wanted.
19. Jim Irsay
Jim Irsay is the owner of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. He is worth around $1.6 billion and he doesn’t really have a lot to worry about. Well, he didn’t until the police pulled him over one night. His erratic driving and odd actions caught the attention of the local police so they stopped him.
What they found was a totally blasted Irsay behind the wheel. He was drunk and high on prescription drugs. Police also found a bunch of prescription drugs in his car and he ended up going to jail. He was always in the headlines for being an outspoken owner, but these weren’t the type of headlines that he was looking for.
18. Bernie Ebbers
Bernie Ebbers is currently an inmate at the Oakdale Federal Correctional Institution in Louisiana. He is serving a thirty year sentence for publishing false financial documents for his company WorldCam. The report was off by more than $11 billion and quickly caught the eyes of authorities, who then started looking into it.
In 2005 it became one of the biggest accounts scandals in United States history. The company was already under suspicion of fraud and conspiracy when they released the report and that was the final straw. Ebbers was born in Canada but he will probably die in a United States Federal prison.
17. Allen Stanford
Allen Stanford was worth around $2.2 billion but he didn’t achieve it honestly. He ran one of the biggest Ponzi schemes ever and stole money from everyone that he could find. His Standard Financial Group stole more than $7 billion from investors and left them all flat broke.
Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison for his crimes. Prosecutors wanted him to get 200 years but does it really matter? His release date is scheduled for some time in 2105 and something tells me that he won’t still be with us when that time comes. He’ll have a very long time to think about what he did.
16. Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev
Mikhail earned billions of dollars by taking control of several oil fields after the Soviet Union collapsed. They were previously running under his company Yukos Oil. There was a point that saw him with more than $15 billion, making him the richest man in the country. It came to light though in 2003, that he and board member Platon were not conducting themselves in a legal manner.
They were both convicted of tax evasion and fraud and sentenced to five years in the slammer. While they were in there they were found guilty of several other crimes as well, having several more years tacked on to their sentence. They are both free now and back in business so be careful if you see those names.
15. Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone built a Formula One empire that was worth around $4.2 billion at one point. It’s still going strong but it’s going to be doing business without him for a very long time.
Ecclestone wasn’t happy with his fortune and wanted more. He was making a ton of money selling off shares of his empire and all was going well until he made the wrong offer to the wrong person.
He bribed an investment banker to guarantee that Ecclestone would still be in charge of his company even after he sold his entire stake. The man took the bribe but was caught and received eight years in prison. He didn’t go quietly either and ratted Ecclestone out to authorities.
14. Raj Rajaratnam
Raj once owned a hedge fund company that was called Galleon Group. His fraudulent practices netted him just below $2 billion before he was finally caught. The FBI busted him in 2009 and he was charged with 14 crimes, including insider trading and fraud. In 2011 he was convicted on every single charge and was given a prison sentence of eleven years.
13. Vladimir Yevtushenkov
Vladamir was one of the richest guys in Russia at one point, with a net worth of around $9 billion. He was the head of a major oil company and had achieved his status by cutting corners and cheating whenever he found the opportunity. In 2014 he was finally busted for money laundering and his time at the top was over.
He received prison time and the Kremlin also took quite a bit of his company. The way things have been going over there since then he may he gotten very lucky. Once you have it though you don’t want to give it up and he doesn’t have much left now.
12. Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio, at one point, was able to look at his bank account and see that he was worth about $9 billion. He made a ton of money by purchasing the rights to several TV shows and movies from the 1980’s. He then did a lot of not so honest tax work to make even more money.
He was eventually caught for his tax shortcomings but the 80-year-old man also got caught with an underage prostitute. They called her “The Heart Stealer” but they could have called her “The Life Stealer” or “The Empire Stealer” after he was busted. He is also facing charges of bribery, wiretapping and defamation.
The one time high ranking official in Italy has been in trouble too many times to mention here. He is old enough where they won’t even put him in prison now. Instead, he has to do free community work.
11. Thomas & Raymond Kwok
The Kwok brothers were billionaires multiple times over but they weren’t happy. They still wanted more and it cost them dearly. They wanted to do some insider trading and get the inside track on several land deals. The only way to do this is to pay people off. If you choose the wrong people however, things won’t go as originally planned.
They bribed everyone they could and as high up as the #2 guy in Hong Kong, to get the info they wanted. The bad news for them was that the top guy eventually got jealous and shut it all down. Prison sentences and fines were handed out to several people, including the Kwok brothers, who at one point were worth more than $16 billion.
10. Michael Milken
Milken is one of the few guys that committed huge crimes, paid his debt, turned his life around and is still worth a ton of money. At one point he was dealing out high yield junk bonds and he made a ton of money doing that. He was a billionaire for nine years before he was finally busted and given a sentence of ten years in prison.
He saw his sentence reduced to less than two years after he fully cooperated with authorities. He did his time and is now he sets up countless charities and does a lot of good in the world. He is currently worth over $2 billion.
9. Joseph Lau
Joesph Lau committed crimes very similar to what the previously mentioned Kwok brothers did. They obviously didn’t talk to each other because if they had, maybe neither of them would have ended up in prison.
Lau tried to pay off some officials nearly two million dollars for several land deals. The problem is that he approached the wrong people and was soon outed publically for his crimes. His punishment was over a five year prison sentence plus he had to completely give up his entire company.
8. Bernie Madoff
Bernie Madoff pulled off one of the biggest, if not THE biggest Ponzi scheme rip offs in American history. At one point he was worth $20 billion but he had stolen more than eighteen billion of it from investors.
The FBI finally caught up to him in 2008 and he eventually confessed to everything. He was eventually sentenced to the maximum sentence that could have been applied to him. He received 150 years in prison. The judge also ordered that all of his wealth was to be taken away and divided up to try and pay back some of the investors. He will never see freedom again.
7. Alfred Taubman
Taubman was convicted of price fixing after he had revived the then soon to be out of business British Auction House Sotheby’s. He received less than a year in prison for his crimes but was given a fine of $7 million.
He always proclaimed his innocence and when he was released from prison he either showed that he was indeed innocent or he had just changed his ways. It’s hard to tell which it really is. He donated millions of dollars to charities and continued to be a major player in communities.
6. Chey Tae-Won
Chey Tae-Won was once worth $2.5 billion. He wasn’t a very smart man though. Everything was going fine until he visited a fortune teller one day. After the meeting Tae-Won decided to bring the man into his company and hired him to be their asset manager. Nobody really knows what Tae-Won was expecting from this move but the fortune teller certainly didn’t tell him that what he was going to do soon was pretty stupid.
Tae-Won split with $50 million of his company’s money and none of the investors were very happy. China searched high and low for him and when they found him they gave him four years in prison for his crime. Nobody got any money back.
5. Ding Yuxin
Ding Yuxin showed the world that not only men can commit major crimes. She was the leader of the Boyou Investment Management Corp when she was caught offering bribes to high ranking political figures in exchange for better contracts. The offer was more than forty million and China didn’t take too kindly to it.
They gave her twenty years behind bars and threw in a fine of $2.5 billion. They also took more than twenty million in personal properties from her. They don’t appreciate those types of things over there whether you are a man or a woman. When she gets out she’ll have nothing at all.
4. Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana
Gabbana and Dolce are known around the globe for two things: tax evasion and fashion. They are very good in the fashion industry but not so good at tax evasion. When Italy was facing a serious recession they started to look into those who they thought were pulling strings when it came to paying taxes.
One of their biggest mistakes was creating a phone company that they sold to a company over in Luxembourg. This move saved them about half a billion dollars in Italian taxes. Italy was not too happy with them and eventually figured out that the pair owed the country a billion dollars. They are worth $1.65 billion but are now both in prison.
3. Curt Johnson
Curt Johnson is worth about $3 billion in the bank. As a human being he is worth far less. He plead guilty to sexually assaulting his step-daughter from the time she was twelve years old until she was fifteen. He even admitted the crimes to his therapist.
His court case faced delay after delay and dragged on for nearly three years. Finally, when neither the victim nor the therapist would testify, he was charged with misdemeanors instead of felonies. He served three months in jail and was fined $6,000. He originally was facing forty years in prison. Did money have anything to do with those that didn’t want to testify? We can only speculate.
2. Wong Kwong Yu
In 2006 Wong Kwong Yu was known as the richest man in China. In a country that boats the largest population anywhere, that is quite an accomplishment. He made his money by becoming the king of the electronics retail stores and at one point was worth around $1.55 billion.
It turned out that his money was really being made with insider trading and when he was caught he made offers of up to $750,000 to try and bribe people. They refused to take the money and he got fourteen years in the slammer. He started his sentence in 2010 and he is still a billionaire due to the continued success of his stores.
1. Eike Batista
Batista was once worth $30 billion. As happens so often to the extremely rich, he didn’t have enough money to make him happy. At one time just about five years ago he was easily Brazil’s richest man, but he now finds himself in jail and he won’t be getting out anytime soon.
He has been charged with giving and receiving kickbacks and threatening members of the government, along with a host of other charges. He had been hiding out in New York but was arrested at the end of January when he returned home. Police were waiting for him when he got off his plane, right there on the tarmac.
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