Marquet International's White Collar Rogues Gallery

Below are synopses of some of the more notorious US white collar fraud cases in recent (and some past) history. One common theme readers will note is the desire on the part of the fraudsters to live extremely lavishly as well as their flagrant narcissism and apparent sociopathic sense of entitlement. Please note that this is a work-in-progress and by no means is meant to be all inclusive or a selection of the "worst of the worst". So if you have a candidate for our White Collar Rogues Gallery, please e-mail us at info@marquetinternational.com with some details and we will consider adding them.
Rogues Index
Rodney Stephen Adler
Kobi Alexander
"Crazy" Eddie Antar
Jordan Belfort
Conrad Black
Ivan F. Boesky
Alan Brian Bond
Robert Emmet Brennan
Rita A. Crundwell
Marc Stuart Dreier
Bernard J. Ebbers
Walter Forbes & E. Kirk Shelton
Martin R. Frankel
Martin L. Grass
Leona Helmsley
Toshihide Iguchi
Samuel Israel III & Daniel E. Marino
Charles H. Keating, Jr.
Jerome Kerviel
L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz
Sanjay Kumar
Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling
Nick Leeson
Bernard Madoff
Michael R. Milken
Barry Minkow
Angelo R. Mozilo
Joseph P. Nacchio
Louis Jay Pearlman
Thomas Joseph Petters
Charles Ponzi
Tomo Razmilovic
Marc Rich
John J. Rigas & Timothy J. Rigas
John Rusnak
Sujata "Sue" Sachdeva
Richard M. Scrushy
Ausaf Umar Siddiqui
Robert Allen Stanford
Hisao Tanaka
Fausto Tonna and Calisto Tanzi
Robert Lee Vesco
Samuel D. Waksal
Sholam Weiss
Albert H. Wiggin
Kirk Sean Wright

Rodney Stephen AdlerBack to list
Rodney Stephen Adler
Rodney Stephen Adler

On February 16, 2005, Rodney Adler, the chief executive of Australia-based HIH Insurance, pleaded guilty to four criminal charges of making false statements.  According to media accounts, in 2000 HIH was struggling financially and needed to sell off as many of its assets as possible in order to stay afloat.  During this period, Adler persuaded his colleague, Ray Williams, HIH Insurance chief executive, to give him $10 million to invest in order to subsequently make money for the business. Adler used a portion of the $10 million to invest in a trust called Pacific Eagle Equities which included shares of HIH. The investment proved to be a poor one and Adler was forced to resign in 2001.  Adler was sentenced to 4½ years in prison, was banned from holding a director position for 20 years, and was ordered to pay restitution.  He is later quoted in an interview from prison as saying, “I let a lot of people down who expected a lot more of me … I am sad for the people who got hurt, the misery I caused my family.” 

Kobi AlexanderBack to list
Kobi Alexander
Kobi Alexander being questioned by the media

Jacob "Kobi" Alexander, an Israeli-American dual citizen born on May 4, 1952 and the former CEO of Massachusetts-based Comverse Technology, was accused on July 29, 2006 of securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud by the State of New York while he was vacationing in Israel. Contrary to a reported agreement that he would return to New York to face the charges, Alexander instead went to Namibia, becoming a fugitive from the US and having the distinction of being placed on the FBI\'s Most Wanted List. He was subsequently federally charged in August 2006 on 35 felony fraud counts, including securities fraud and money laundering by the SEC, along with alleged co-conspirators, William F. Sorin and David Kreinberg, former General Counsel and CFO of Comverse, respectively. The charges relate to alleged backdating of stock options. On September 27, 2006, Alexander was arrested in Namibia where he had traveled with his wife and three children. Prior to his arrest, however, Alexander reportedly was able to transfer nearly $17 million from his Israeli bank accounts to Namibia. He had previously been able to transfer some $40 million from US accounts to Israel, according to reports. While his two alleged co-conspirators, Sorin and Kreinberg have both plead guilty and agreed to restitution in this case, Alexander has started a new business in Namibia, Kobi Alexander Enterprises, according to press reports, which is involved in the construction of "low income homes." January 2008, Comverse sued Alexander and Sorin for $70 million and Alexander has countersued, alleging that the company owes him some $72 million in compensation. As of this writing, Alexander has won postponement of a series of extradition hearings and he remains in Namibia on bail and is still conducting business.

"Crazy" Eddie AntarBack to list

Eddie Antar mugshot

No one who lived in New York City area from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s can forget the frenetic "Crazy Eddie" television commercials imploring potential buyers to frequent their discount electronics store chain because their prices were "insaaaaaane!" The Crazy Eddie retail chain, technically known as ERS Electronics, was originally founded in 1969 by Eddie Antar, his cousin, Ronnie Gindi and his father, Sam E. Antar ("the Antars"). The business went public in September 1984 and grew to a reported $300 million in sales and 43 stores by the end of 1986, Nevertheless, by 1987, the company and its officers were facing criminal investigations by the SEC and the New Jersey Attorney General, alleging various securities fraud violations as well as fraudulent warranty billing practices, among other allegations. One early fraud scheme reportedly involved the Antars routinely skimming cash from the company - as much as one dollar for every five in revenue, not reported to the IRS - and making regular trips to Israel to deposit the cash. The Antars are also alleged to have inflated company revenues by fraudulent inventory booking. Eddie, who served as President and CEO, left the company in December 1986 after cashing in millions in company stock and options. A proxy battle ensued which resulted in the ousting of the original board in November 1987, including all of the Antars. Unfortunately, it was too late to save the company as ERS Electronics filed for bankruptcy in 1989 and was liquidated. Meanwhile, in September 1989, Eddie Antar was charged with securities fraud and insider trading. He fled to Israel in 1990 using a variety of aliases to escape the criminal charges and an order to repatriate some $53 million. Antar was arrested in June 1992 in Israel and was extradited back to the US in January 1993, now facing racketeering and conspiracy charges. Antar was convicted on 17 felony racketeering and securities fraud counts in July 1993 and sentenced to 12½ years in prison in April 1994. However, Antar (and his brother Sam's) convictions were overturned in April 1995 on appeal and prosecutors announced plans for a new trial. Antar ultimately plead guilty in a plea agreement in May 1996 and in February 1997 was sentenced to 8 years in prison and ordered to pay $150 million in fines. He also faced more than $1 billion in judgments entered against him. Antar was released from federal prison in 1999 at the age of 52. Federal prosecutor Michael Chertoff once called Eddie Antar "the Darth Vader of capitalism".

Jordan BelfortBack to list
Jordan Belfort
Jordan Belfort

Nicknamed “The Wolf of Wall Street” and popularized by the recent film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jordan Belfort made a fortune illegally through his investment company, Stratton Oakmont.  According to authorities Belfort and Stratton Oakmont defrauded their investors through a “pump and dump” scheme.  In or about 1992, the SEC began an investigation into Belfort and Stratton Oakmont for apparently manipulating stock prices.  In 1996, Stratton Oakmont was forced to liquidate to pay the SEC fines. Ultimately in 1999, Belfort pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering.  He was sentenced to 4 years in prison in 2003 after cooperating with authorities and was forced to pay fines upwards of $110 million.  Nevertheless, Belfort only ended up serving 22 months in jail.   

Conrad BlackBack to list
Conrad Black
Black during his fraud trial 2007

Until recently, Conrad Black was a prominent Canadian business executive, investor and media mogul known for his extravagant lifestyle. He served as Chairman and CEO of Hollinger International, a publicly traded media conglomerate in which he had a significant ownership interest. On November 17, 2003, the Hollinger\'s board of directors announced that it had conducted an internal investigation which revealed that Black had received some $7 million in unauthorized compensation from the company and he was forced to resign as CEO and later as Chairman. The company sued Black, several of his investment vehicles and David Radler, another former executive, to recover $200 million in alleged damages. The Securities & Exchange Commission filed a civil action against Black on November 15, 2004 and on November 17, 2005 an 8-count criminal indictment was filed against Black alleging securities fraud. Four more criminal charges were filed a month later, including racketeering, obstruction of justice, money laundering and wire fraud. On July 13, 2007, Black was convicted on three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, but acquitted of the nine other charges. On December 10, 2007, Black was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $125,000 fine in connection with the fraud conviction. Since March 2008, he has been serving out his prison sentence at the Coleman Federal Correction Complex near Orlando, Florida.

Ivan F. BoeskyBack to list
Ivan F. Boesky
Ivan Boesky at a business lecture in the early 1980s

In November 1986, Ivan Boesky, a leading Wall Street arbitrageur, was sentenced to 3½ years in prison, agreed to pay a $100 million fine and has been barred for life from the securities industry to settle the insider trading charges. Boesky had begun making cash payoffs to Kidder Peabody investment banker Marin Siegel in 1982, in exchange for insider information on upcoming mergers and acquisitions deals. He spent two years of his sentence in jail. As part of his deal, Boesky also informed on other White Collar Rogues, including Michael Milken.

Alan Brian BondBack to list
Alan Brian Bond
Alan B. Bond

Alan Bond, not to be confused with the Australian business magnate who shares the name, was a highly successful money manager, having started his own firm, Bond Procope Capital Management in 1991. Bond had a dual Ivy league pedigree, a 1983 graduate of Dartmouth College and a 1987 graduate of Harvard Business School. He began his financial career with Goldman Sachs and then became a portfolio manager for W. R. Lazard & Co. In 1998, Bond bought out his partners and renamed his firm Albriond Capital Management. Bond became a regular guest on the PBS television program, 'Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser.' However, on December 16, 1999, Bond was indicted on fraud and kickback charges, alleging he received some $6.9 million in kickbacks from commissions paid to brokers to whom he steered business. Specifically, Bond was indicted on 11 felony counts, including conspiracy, investment advisory fraud, commercial bribery and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The indictment stated that from 1993 until 1998, Bond received kickbacks ranging from 57 to 80 percent of the trade commissions from three brokerages firms, including Lintz, Glover, White & Company of Sherman Oaks, California, Brenner Securities Corp. of New York City and Value Investing Partners of Westport, Connecticut. Bond was also accused of taking kickbacks in the form of "soft dollar" credits. Authorities alleged that Bond used the misappropriated funds to finance an extremely lavish lifestyle that included a luxury home in Montclair, New Jersey, two vacation homes in Florida and 75 luxury and classic automobiles. Bond's apparent principal co-conspirator, Robert I. Spruill, was also indicted on conspiracy and fraud charges. Spruill reportedly had worked at all three of the brokerage firms in question and had set up a dummy company, Satchmo Inc., in order to funnel the commission kickbacks to Bond. Spruill pleaded guilty in early June 2000 and agreed to cooperate with authorities in the case. In August 2001, Bond was arrested and charged with operating an illegal "cherry picking" scheme that directed virtually all of his profitable stock trades to his own accounts and most of his unprofitable ones to accounts he managed for three clients. The new indictment added nine felony counts charged against Bond, including six counts of securities fraud and three counts of investment advisory fraud. Bond was released from jail on a $1 million bond with an agreement that barred him from working as an investment advisor and forced him to close his business. In May 2002, Bond's "cherry picking" fraud trial commenced wherein it was revealed in testimony that he was fired from Goldman Sachs for inflating his expense reports in 1989. After his three week trial, the jury found Bond was guilty on six felony fraud counts and he was remanded directly to jail since he was considered a substantial flight risk. Bond subsequently plead guilty in October 2002 to charges that he had accepted millions of dollars in kickbacks in his earlier fraud case. In February 2003, Bond was sentenced to 12½ years in prison in his kickback case and ordered to pay $6.6 million in restitution.

Robert Emmet BrennanBack to list
Robert Emmet Brennan
Robert E. Brennan in a contemplative moment

A New York native born in 1944 and reared in New Jersey, Robert E. Brennan, a CPA by training, founded the penny stock trading firm, First Jersey Securities in 1974 after already having been censured by the SEC for improper trading activities. In 1978, the SEC brought an administrative action against the firm for violating securities laws. Brennan became known for his advertisements, arriving by helicopter and enticing potential clients to, "come grow with us." While Brennan was a high flier, living a lavish lifestyle, he and his firm came under further scrutiny by the SEC for its "pump and dump" boiler room penny stock trading activities. At his high water mark, Brennan owned three racetracks, a golf resort, three multimillion dollar homes, racehorses, restaurants and other real estate. The SEC filed an action on October 31, 1985 alleging securities fraud and seeking disgorgement of illegal profits. It claimed that First Jersey Securities, at the direction of Brennan, "employed a massive and coordinated system of fraudulent practices to induce its customers to buy certain securities from the Firm at excessive prices unrelated to prevailing market prices, resulting in defendants' gaining more than $27 million in illegal profits from their fraudulent scheme." Many clients of the firm reportedly lost their life savings in the scheme. First Jersey Securities filed for bankruptcy in 1987 and ceased operations. Finally, in June 1995, after a protracted trial, First Jersey and Brennan were found by the jury to have violated various securities laws and regulations and ordered to disgorge profits of more than $22 million. A judgment of $75 million was also entered against Brennan. To avoid the judgment, Brennan filed for personal bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy code in August 1995. In September 1995, Brennan was also charged both civilly and criminally by the State of New Jersey alleging securities fraud for the period 1991 through 1994. On July 19, 2000, Brennan was indicted for attempting to hide assets in the bankruptcy case by cashing $500,000 worth of casino chips at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas which he had failed to report. Brennan had also delivered a bearer bond valued at nearly $4 million to an agent in the Isle of Man to secretly hold offshore for him in a dummy trust fund. As a result, on April 11 2001, Brennan was found guilty by a jury on seven felony counts of money laundering and bankruptcy fraud. On July 22, 2001, Brennan was sentenced to 110 months in prison for these acts. Brennan was convicted on separate federal charges of criminal contempt of court in 2003 for violating an Asset Freeze Order and sentenced to an additional 36 months in prison to run concurrently with the existing 110 month sentence. The charges stem from Brennan's failure to disclose an ownership interest in the Palm Beach Princess, a gaming ship based out of West Palm Beach, Florida. According to the judge in the case, "Brennan appears to be without remorse for having harmed thousands of investors by his conduct. He has attempted to avoid efforts to recover money taken from those investors ... and hidden substantial assets from regulators, the trustees and the bankruptcy court to frustrate that purpose." He is currently serving his term in federal prison at Fort Dix, New Jersey and is due to be released on December 26, 2011.

Rita A. CrundwellBack to list
Rita A. Crundwell
Rita A. Crundwell

The small town of Dixon, Illinois had been under the financial management of Rita Crundwell for nearly 30 years when in April 2012 she was arrested for allegedly embezzling more than $30 million from the municipality over a 21 year period.  By the time she was indicted in May 2012, Crundwell was alleged to have siphoned a staggering $53.7 million from town coffers to finance an extraordinarily lavish lifestyle that included a noted quarter horse farm and breeding business.  In classic embezzlement fashion, Crundwell’s thefts started small in 1990 and grew to as much as $5.8 million in 2008.  For a town with an operating budget of about $10 million per year, it was devastating and by the time she was arrested as they were $22 million in debt and the potholes still weren’t getting filled.  Crundwell plead guilty and was sentenced to 19½ years in prison, plus restitution.  The US Marshals held a series of auction which netted about $10 million.  She reportedly still receives some $13,000 in breeder royalties a year which US Marshals are still attempting to secure for the restitution.  Dixon, Illinois, best known as the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, settled negligence suit against the town’s previous auditors and banks for failure to catch Crundwell’s fraud for some $40 million.  Dixon now be better known for the Crundwell case going forward.  

Marc Stuart DreierBack to list
Marc Stuart Dreier
Marc S. Dreier

By any account, Marc Dreier was a star in the New York legal community, establishing his own firm, which ultimately became Dreier LLP, in 1996, and growing it to include five offices and as many as 250 attorneys. Dreier, a native New Yorker born on May 12, 1950, was a double Ivy League graduate, receiving a BA from Yale and his JD from Harvard Law School. Dreier worked at two prestigious law firms, Rosenman & Colin and Fulbright & Jaworski. Dreier succeeded in attracting high profile clients, including celebrities, movie stars and professional athletes. Like many high fliers and members of this White Collar Rogues Gallery, Dreier developed an extremely lavish lifestyle, including several multi-million dollar homes in exclusive locations, two luxury yachts, numerous luxury automobiles and dozens of pieces of fine art, including paintings by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Matisse and other prominent artists. But Dreier's high flying lifestyle came to an abrupt end on December 2, 2008 when he was arrested in Canada for impersonating a lawyer for the Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan as he was attempting to sell promissory notes allegedly backed by it to hedge fund Fortress Investment Group. Dreier was released on CAN$100,000 bail and returned to New York where he was arrested by US authorities. December 8, 2008, when the Securities & Exchange Commission charged him in a complaint with securities fraud and wire fraud in connection with a real estate investment scheme involving the sale of some $113.5 million in phony promissory notes to hedge funds and other investors. The SEC also charged Dreier of providing investors fake financial statements and audit reports to cover up the fraud. The news sent the law firm into chaos, with many lawyers engaging counsel to represent their interests and others bailing on the firm all together. Matters were complicated by the fact that Dreier was the sole shareholder of the firm and each attorney had their own respective employment contract. On December 16, 2008, the firm filed for bankruptcy. Shortly thereafter, on December 22, 2008, Kosta S. Kovachev, a former registered broker, was arrested and charged with conspiring with Dreier to sell the fraudulent promissory notes. Kovachev had a prior history censure by the SEC for alleged investment fraud activities. On January 26, 2009, the receiver for the law firm filed an involuntary bankruptcy for Dreier under Chapter 7 of the US Bankruptcy code. On January 29, 2009, Dreier was formally indicted on seven felony counts including one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, and five counts of wire fraud, alleging he engaged in a scheme to sell fraudulent promissory notes resulting in nearly $400 million in losses to investors. The scheme allegedly spanned a four year period between 2004 and 2008 and was akin to a Ponzi-scheme whereby earlier investors were paid off by later investments. Dreier's phony promissory notes promised returns of between 8 and 12 percent per year that were owed by real estate developers. Dreier was reportedly able to fool the due diligence of hedge funds by hiring impersonators to pose as representatives of the real estate developer. On March 17, 2009, a superseding indictment was filed against Dreier alleging an additional felony count of money laundering and seeking $700 million in asset forfeitures. On May 11, 2009, Dreier pleaded guilty to all 8 counts in the indictment and on July 13, 2009, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Dreier was subsequently disbarred by the State of New York. Another accomplice, Robert Miller, was also charged and ultimately plead guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud in November 2009. Kovachev also plead guilty and was sentenced to 46 months in prison for his role in the fraud. Dreier is scheduled to be release on October 26, 2026.

Bernard J. EbbersBack to list
Bernard J. Ebbers
Bernie Ebbers after verdict in 2005

In March 2005, Bernie Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom, was found guilty on nine counts of securities fraud and conspiracy involving an accounting scheme to bolster the company\'s apparent profitability. According to reports, the fraud began in 2000 and was revealed in 2002 in shareholder lawsuits. The fraud, estimated to be $11 billion, ultimately lead the company to file for bankruptcy in July 2002. Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay $45 million in restitution in July 2005. Canadian born Ebbers is currently serving his sentence in the Oakdale Federal Correctional Institution in Louisiana.

Walter Forbes & E. Kirk SheltonBack to list
Walter Forbes & E. Kirk Shelton
Walter Forbes(left), former Chairman of Cendant Corp. & Kirk Shelton former V. Chair. of Cendant

In November 2006, after eight years and three trials, Walter Forbes, former Chairman of Cendant Corp., was convicted of conspiracy and making false statements to the SEC. In 2001, Forbes was indicted, along with Vice Chairman, E. Kirk Shelton and other executives, of bilking investors out of more than $3 billion in a massive accounting fraud considered to be the largest of the 1990s accounting scandals. Forbes claimed that he knew nothing of the fraud and blamed his Shelton and others. A number of executives pled guilty and agreed to testify against both Forbes and Shelton. Shelton was convicted in 2005 of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud and making false statements to the SEC and sentenced to 10 years in prison. On January 17, 2007, Forbes was sentenced to 12½ years in prison and ordered to pay some $3.3 billion in fines and restitution. Forbes' sentence is currently on appeal.

Martin R. FrankelBack to list
Martin R. Frankel
Martin Frankel in custody in 2000

In May 2002, Martin Frankel, the son of a County Judge in Ohio and a "financier" based in Greenwich, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to 24 counts of racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud after acquiring a controlling interest in five insurance companies and skimming their reserves to the tune of some $208 million. Frankel was sentenced to 17 years in prison and shortly after incarceration, attempted an escape, but failed. When the fraud unraveled in 1999 after a fire at his mansion revealed some evidence to authorities, Frankel fled the US, but was captured in Germany with multiple passports and over 400 diamonds in his possession. German authorities expedited the extradition of Frankel to the US in 2000 to face the fraud charges. During his heyday, Frankel lived a life of luxury off the proceeds of his scams, buying a mansion in Greenwich, a private jet, expensive cars, fine wines and consorted with numerous women. It should be noted that Frankel had previously been barred for life from securities trading in a previous scam in 1989, but that did not stop him from acquiring the insurance companies he later pillaged.

Martin L. GrassBack to list
Martin L. Grass
Martin Grass pleads guilty

Martin Grass, the son of Rite Aid Corporation's founder, Alex Grass, began working full time at the pharmacy chain in 1978 at the age of 23. Grass took over the reins as CEO of the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based company in 1995. At that time, the chain had the most stores of any pharmacy in the US and was the second largest in terms of revenue. However, on October 18, 1999, Grass was forced to resign as CEO after the company's stock fell from a high of $50 to less than $10 per share following the chain's aggressive expansion plans faltered and added significant debt to the company's balance sheet. Back in 1989, Grass was arrested for bribery, but was acquitted in 1991. In any event, on June 21, 2002, Grass and several other Rite Aid executives were indicted on multiple charges of conspiracy to defraud, making false statements and accounting fraud. The others indicted include Franklin Brown, former chief counsel and vice chairman, Franklyn Bergonzi, former EVP and CFO, and Eric Sorkin, EVP of Pharmacy Services. According to the indictment, Grass and his co-conspirators cooked the company books to the tune of $1.6 billion, forcing a restatement of earnings - the largest in history at that time. In May 2004, Grass reached a plea agreement with prosecutors whereby he would serve a minimum of 8 years, up to 10 years in prison, pay a $500,000 fine and forfeit $3 million in compensation to the US so that he "does not receive unjust enrichment" as a result of"bogus" backdated severance letters. His co-defendants all pleaded guilty in 2003. Sadly, Rite Aid founder Alex Grass passed away in August 2009 having witnessed his son's near destruction of the company and ruination of the family name.

Leona HelmsleyBack to list
Leona Helmsley
A typically defiant Leona Helmsley
after her conviction for tax fraud

In 1989, Leona Helmsley, head of the Helmsley Enterprises real estate empire, was found guilty of mail fraud and tax evasion after an investigation by the IRS revealed some $2.6 million in false business expenses. Helmsley ended up serving 18 months of a 4 year sentence in prison. She was also ordered to pay $7.1 in fines and restitution and to do 750 hours of community service. Her husband, Harry Helmsley, who was also indicted with Leona in 1988, was deemed physically and mentally unfit for trial, and ultimately passed away in January 1997. Leona, dubbed the "Queen of Mean" by the tabloid press, was infamous for her treatment of employees and vendors. During her trial it was reported that she quipped to one of her housekeepers, "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." Indeed, it was a contractor on their Greenwich, Connecticut mansion who blew the whistle on the Helmsley's and their questionable business practices in 1985. Until her death on August 20, 2007 at the age of 87, Leona Helmsley remained Chairman, CEO and President of Helmsley Enterprises, Inc. and was on the Forbes list of 100 richest Americans.

Toshihide IguchiBack to list
Toshihide Iguchi
Toshihide Iguchi

Between 1983 and 1995, Toshihide Iguchi, a trader for Daiwa bank, hid around $1.1 billion in unauthorized trading losses. Iguchi’s troubles began when he started selling bonds in sub-custody accounts in an attempt to cover his losses.  However, the losses spiraled out of control and Iguchi continued down a slippery slope. In a twisted attempt to protect his reputation and job security, Iguchi forged around 30,000 trading slips and sold around $377 million of Daiwa Bank customers' securities and $733 million of the bank's own investment securities to cover his tracks.  However in September 1995, as losses piled up, Iguchi ultimately wrote a letter to Daiwa detailing what had happened. Although the bank initially instructed Iguchi to continue to cover his losses, they ultimately turned on him.  In 1997, after a short trial, Iguchi was sentenced to 4 years in prison – ultimately serving a little over 2 years. 

Samuel Israel III & Daniel E. MarinoBack to list
Samuel Israel III & Daniel E. Marino
Samuel Israel (left) and Daniel Marino (right) after pleading guilty to fraud charges related to Bayou Group

On September 29, 2005, Samuel Israel III, the founder of the Bayou Group hedge fund based in Stamford, Connecticut, along with his CFO, Daniel Marino, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges related to the spectacular collapse of the company's hedge fund. The fraud reportedly started as early as 1998, shortly after the fund was opened. It involved the overstatement of gains and the understatement of losses leading to a fraud that was estimated to be in excess of $300 million. According to reports, Marino even created a fake accounting firm to give the appearance to investors that the fund was doing well. Israel faces up to 30 years and Marino up to 50 years in prison. A third executive, James C. Marquez, who founded Bayou with Israel, pleaded guilty to fraud charges as well. In January 2008, Marino was sentenced to 20 years in prison. On April 14, 2008 Israel was also sentenced to 20 years in prison by the federal court. At his sentencing hearing, US District Court Judge Colleen McMahon said of Israel, "You were, in every meaning of the sense, a career criminal. You ruined lives. Financial fraud, white-collar crimes are every bit as heinous as every other type of crime and they will be punished severely." However, Israel did not show up for his prison sentence on June 9, 2008 and his abandoned SUV and an alleged suicide note was found, but no body. An investigation and search for the body ensued but authorities quickly determined that Israel's apparent suicide was faked. His then girlfriend, Debra Ryan, apparently admitted that she had driven with Israel and abandoned the SUV and that the suicide was a ruse. The saga finally ending when Israel turned himself into Southwick, Massachusetts police on July 2, 2008. At a hearing the following day, Israel claimed he attempted suicide by swallowing morphine pills and fentanyl, a pain killer, but the judge was not sympathetic. On July 15, 2009, Israel was sentenced to an additional 2 years in prison for jumping bail by faking his suicide and for failing to show up for his prison term. For her part in helping Israel, Debra Ryan was sentenced to three months probation. Israel is currently serving his sentence at the Fort Devens federal prison in Massachusetts.

Charles H. Keating, Jr.Back to list
Charles H. Keating, Jr.
Charles H. Keating, Jr. in Los Angeles at arraignment 9-18-90

Charles H. Keating, Jr. epitomized the Savings & Loan meltdown in the US in the late 1980s. Keating's Lincoln Savings & Loan filed for bankruptcy in 1989 reportedly wiping out the life savings of thousands of elderly investors. He was twice convicted of fraud, once in state court in California and once on federal charges of fraud, racketeering and conspiracy, but both of these cases were later overturned on appeal. He served four years in jail before the cases were overturned. Several civil actions were also filed against Keating and other officers of Lincoln Savings, by groups of investors as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Resolution Trust Corporation, in which multi-million dollar judgments were entered against him. Keating ultimately entered a plea agreement in the re-trial of his federal case, admitting to bankruptcy fraud for a sentence of 4 years in prison as time already served. Five high profile politicians, known as the "Keating Five" also became embroiled in the controversy for having received contributions from Keating/Lincoln Savings, including Dennis DeConcini, Alan Cranston, John Glenn, Don Riegle and John McCain.

Jerome KervielBack to list
Jerome Kerviel
Jerome Kerviel

In 2008 Jérôme Kerviel, trader with the large France-based commercial bank, Société Générale, was charged with breach of trust, forgery and unauthorized trading, that had resulted in substantial losses. Kerviel began to engage in unauthorized trades beginning in 2006 totaling what ultimately amounted to around €50 billion.  Kerviel tried to mask his trading activity by creating losing trades to counter his previous gains. By the end of 2007, Kerviel amassed over €1.4 billion in unreported profits. On January 19, 2008 the bank discovered Kerviel’s unauthorized trading then followed up by later closing out these positions during a bearish period leading to massive losses adding up to €4.9 billion. Kerviel was charged on 28 in January 2008 with “abuse of confidence” and “illegal access to computers.”  On October 5, 2010 Kerviel was found guilty and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.  He was also ordered to repay full restitution of €4.9 billion and banned from working in the financial services industry. An appeals court overturned the restitution order in 2014.  Meanwhile, Kerviel filed a claim for wrongful termination from Société Générale in a matter that is still pending.  

L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. SwartzBack to list
L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz
Mark Swartz (left) and Dennis Kozlowski (right), former 'CFO and CEO, respectively, of Tyco International Ltd.

In January 2005, Mark Swartz and Dennis Kozlowski, former CFO and CEO of Tyco International Ltd., respectively, were found guilty on 22 counts of grand larceny and fraud charges in the systematic looting of some $567 million from the company by selling stock at falsely inflated prices, receiving "undeserved" bonuses and obtaining huge loans that were later forgiven. Kozlowski lived extravagantly on the proceeds, including throwing an infamous $2 million birthday party for his wife on the island of Sardinia. They were sentenced to up to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay a combined $239 million in fines and restitution. Kozlowski is currently serving his sentence at the Marcy Correctional Facility in Marcy, New York.

Sanjay KumarBack to list
Sanjay Kumar
Sanjay Kumar in an undated promotional photo

Sri Lankan-born Sanjay Kumar was originally hired as a software developer in 1987 by Computer Associates International, Inc., a Long Island, New York - based software development and consulting firm. By 2002, Kumar had risen to the level of Chairman and CEO of the publicly-traded company. However, in early June 2004, Kumar left the company amid financial statement fraud allegations and, in mid-September 2004, Kumar was indicted on charges of securities fraud, conspiracy, perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with an alleged scheme to inflate the company's financial results. At the same time, the company agreed to pay $224 million in restitution to settle fraud charges against its self. On April 24, 2006, Kumar pleaded guilty to all 8 felony counts in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York. Another defendant, Stephen Richards, Computer Associates' former worldwide head of sales, also plead guilty to the charges. Prosecutors alleged that the Kumar and several of his colleagues had conspired to inflate revenues to the tune of $2.2 billion by improperly booking software license revenue and backdating contracts. Kumar had also reportedly erased his computer hard drive in an effort to conceal evidence. On November 3, 2006, Kumar was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in the fraud and ordered to pay an $8 million fine. On April 27, 2007, Kumar was further ordered to pay nearly $800 million in restitution. Kumar blamed the company's founder and former chairman, Charles Wang, as the architect of the pervasive financial fraud scheme at Computer Associates. Nevertheless, Kumar lost his appeal in August 2010 to have his 12 year sentence reduced and is currently serving his term at the federal prison in Fairton, New Jersey.

Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. SkillingBack to list
Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling
Kenneth Lay (left) and Jeffrey Skilling (right), former Chairman and CEO, respectively, of Enron Corporation

Andrew FastowIn May 2006, after a four and a half year government investigation, former Enron Chairman, Ken Lay, former CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, and former CFO, Andrew Fastow
were found guilty of a series of federal counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and insider trading in what resulted in a spectacular bankruptcy in December 2001. The collapse of Enron had sweeping impact locally as well as on the US industry in general. Some 4,000 employees lost their jobs (mostly in and around Houston where the company was based) and employees and investors lost some $62 billion cash and equity. More than 20 other people either pled or were found guilty in matters related to the case. The Big Five accounting firm of Arthur Anderson gave up its license to practice as a CPA firm in 2002 as a result of its criminal prosecution in its apparent failure to properly audit Enron. Arthur Anderson dissolved shortly thereafter. On July 5th 2006, Lay died while awaiting sentencing. Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison and ordered to pay millions in restitution. He is currently serving his sentence at the Waseca Federal Correctional Institution in Minnesota. On January 14, 2004, Fastow pleaded guilty and was ordered to serve 10 years in prison.  Fastow’s sentence was reduced because he agreed to become an informant and cooperate with federal authorities in the prosecutions of other Enron executives. 

Nick LeesonBack to list
Nick Leeson
Nick Leeson

Beginning in September 1992, Nick Leeson, a foreign exchange trader operating in Singapore for Barings Bank, made a series of unauthorized speculative trades on the Japanese Nikkei futures index.  Leeson reported significant profits leading to a sizeable bonus in spite of the fact that he was experiencing losses.  Leeson began using an error account to hide his growing loses.  By the end of 1992, the losses grew to £2 million, which later skyrocketed to £208 million by the end of 1994. Leeson’s mistakes were compounded on January 16, 1995 when he made a wrong bet about the state of the Japanese stock market. As a result, his losses eventually rose to as much as £827 million (US$1.4 billion) – significantly more than Barings’ available trading capital. Barings was later declared insolvent.  Leeson fled Singapore but was apprehended in Frankfurt, Germany. He ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and forgery in the deception of the bank's auditors and the Singapore exchange. Leeson was sentenced to 6½ years in prison but he was released from prison in 1999 for good behavior after a bout with colon cancer.  

Bernard MadoffBack to list
Bernard Madoff
Department of Justice mugshot

Bernard L. Madoff was born in Queens, New York, in 1938, where he was raised.  He founded Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities right out of college, which started as a penny stock exchange in 1960. The business did very well; its innovative use and development of computer information technology was eventually replicated to create the NASDAQ, of which Madoff eventually became chairman.  But it was not long before the worm at the heart of this golden apple was discovered, as financial analyst Harry Markopolos informed the US Securities and Exchange Commission that he believed the gains Madoff claimed were mathematically impossible.  But both the Boston and New York branches of the SEC either ignored or dropped the ball on Markopolos’ several attempts at whistleblowing.  Nevertheless, on December 10th, 2008, Madoff reportedly confessed to his two sons, Mark and Andrew Madoff, that his business was “one giant Ponzi scheme.”  Upon hearing the details, the sons were supposedly so horrified that they reported their father in to federal authorities.   At 8:30am the next morning, Madoff was arrested in his Manhattan apartment, where he confessed again to the FBI agents. “There is no innocent explanation,” he told them.  Madoff was charged with securities fraud. In February of 2009, Madoff came to an agreement with the SEC, and was permanently banned from the securities industry.  He pleaded guilty to 11 federal offenses, including securities fraud, wire fraud, perjury, money laundering, mail fraud, theft from an employee benefit plan, making false filings with the SEC, and making false statements.  On June 26th, 2009, Federal Judge Denny Chin ordered Madoff to forfeit $170 billion in assets.  On June 29th, 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison without parole.  He is currently incarcerated at the Butner Medium Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina.  There are still a number of unsolved mysteries swirling about this case, however.  Madoff claimed he began his ponzi scheme in 1991, but Judge Chin stated he believes it actually begin in the 1980’s. Original complaints stated Madoff defrauded clients of $65 billion, but analysts continue to debate the true figure and have admitted that while the exact amount will never be known, it is likely to be between $10—$20 billion. Madoff also insisted he was the sole perpetrator of the fraud.  However, since then Madoff’s right hand man, Frank DiPascali, and Madoff’s accountant, David Friehling, have each plead guilty to securities fraud and a number of other federal offenses.  In addition, both of Madoff’s sons, his brother Peter, and niece Shana, have all been accused of fraud and are currently being sued for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.  It is believed by many observers that these family members must have known about the fraud, given its longevity, their work within the company, including roles as corporate and compliance officers, and their personal investments in the scheme.  Madoff’s wife, Ruth, was also accused of withdrawing $15 million from company-related accounts just before Madoff confessed.  She has settled with federal prosecutors by forfeiting her claim to $85 million in assets.  Madoff has apologized to his victims, saying he has left a “legacy of shame” to his family and grandchildren, but Judge Chin stated his crimes were not only “extraordinarily evil,” but “off the charts,” as federal sentencing guidelines for fraud only go up to $400 million. If he maintains “good behavior” in prison, Bernard Madoff, believed to have perpetrated the largest ponzi scheme in history, will be released early from Butner Medium FCI on November 14th, 2139.

Michael R. MilkenBack to list
Michael R. Milken
Michael R. Milken testifying before congress

In 1989, Drexel Burnham Lambert junk bond king, Michael Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud under RICO statutes, by then US attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The charges involved various alleged securities violations. Drexel filed for bankruptcy in February 1990 following the collapse of the junk bond market and was later dissolved. Milken agreed to a plea bargain, admitting to six felonies, was banned for life from the securities industry, sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay some $900 million in fines and restitution. After only 22 months in prison, Milken was released in January 1993. Milken has attempted to rehabilitate himself by spending much of his time since his prison term heavily involved in philanthropic activities, particularly in financing various cancer research projects.

Barry MinkowBack to list
Barry Minkow
Barry Minkow in the mid-1980s

In 1987, Barry Jay Minkow was arrested and indicted in a variation of the classic Ponzi scheme involving the Los Angeles-based carpet cleaning company he founded as a teenager, Zzzz Best. Minkow had defrauded investors by grossly inflating the value of his company and actually succeeded in taking it public in 1986. Minkow had also succeeded in bamboozling hired lawyers and accountants, as well as the media, the SEC and the FBI for a time before the house of cards fell apart. He went so far as to create fake offices and false contracts in order to perpetuate his fraud. In the end, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay $26 million in restitution. Minkow actually served about 7½ years of his sentence. After serving his time in jail, Minkow attempted to rehabilitate himself by lecturing about the evils of white collar crime and becoming a Christian minister. Minkow founded the Fraud Discover Institute, purportedly dedicated to identifying public companies with members of their management or board of directors who had falsified their backgrounds (see the Resume Liars Club). However, Minkow was suspected of engaging in a scheme known as "short and distort," whereby he would short sell the stock of the company in question prior to releasing his findings. In other cases, Minkow was sued for allegedly making false accusations. In 2009, Minkow accused Lennar Corp., a Miami-based homebuilder, of being a "financial crime in progress" akin to a Ponzi scheme, echoing claims of a disgruntled Lennar shareholder, Nicholas Marsch. Lennar counterclaimed in a civil action naming Minkow and Marsch as defendants alleging corporate libel and extortion. Subsequent discovery in litigation revealed that Minkow had shorted $20,000 worth in Lennar options and the stock halved in value after his fraud claim. Minkow also secretly purchased Lennar shares after the drop, expecting that the price would rebound. Ultimately, the civil case concluded with the court found that Minkow had repeatedly lied under oath, destroyed or withheld evidence, concealed witnesses, and deliberately tried to "cover up his misconduct." He was subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and, in March 2011, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy for trading in Lennar stock using "nonpublic information." Minkow was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay $583 million in damages to Lennar. In an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, after his sentence, Minkow reportedly wrote that he deserved a life sentence for his actions.

Angelo R. MoziloBack to list
Angelo R. Mozilo
Angelo Mozilo Testifies Before Congress, March 2008

Born in 1938, Angelo Mozilo California-based mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corporation from the ground-up to become the largest mortgage lender in the US. Nevertheless, Mozilo has become the personification of the subprime mortgage debacle and subsequent economic meltdown in the United States. In 2007, Countrywide's asset value plummeted as subprime mortgages failed in record numbers and by the end of the year, had lost more than 80 percent in market capitalization, or $20 billion in value. The company came under government and media scrutiny for its suspect lending practices and preferred dealing for "Friends of Angelo" or FOA. Some of prominent politicians and Fannie Mae executives who benefited from Mozilo's FOA program, raising serious conflict of interest questions include US Senator and Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT); US Senator and Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND); former FannieMae CEO Jim Johnson; and former FannieMae Chairman & CEO Franklin Raines. In addition to former FannieMae Vice Chairman Jamie Gorelick, numerous other FannieMae officers and executives had Countrywide loans. In March 2008, Mozilo was subpoeanaed to testify before the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform over the subprime mortgage crisis. Mozilo was also one of the co-founders of IndyMac Bank, which was spun off from Countrywide's predecessor in 1997. IndyMac collapsed and was seized by regulators in July 2008. Ultimately, Bank of America acquired Countrywide in January 2008, for $2.5 billion in stock, $500 million less than its market value at the time. Mozilo netted approximately $44 million on the deal in spite of voluntarily giving up a $37.5 million severance fee amid outrage at Countrywide executive pay. On June 4, 2009, the Securities & Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint against Mozilo for securities fraud and insider trading. According to the SEC, Mozilo sold large volumes of Countrywide stock in 2006 and 2007, just prior to the company's melt down, netting some $139 million in alleged ill-gotten gains. Two additional former Countrywide executives were also sued by the SEC in this action, including David Sambol, former COO and President and Eric Sieracki, formr CFO. The SEC civil case is scheduled to go to trial in October 2010. In May 2010, Bank of America settled a civil class action suit brought by shareholders against Countrywide alleging fraud and misleading statements related to its lending practices, for some $600 million. In the same settlement, Countrywide former auditor, KPMG agreed to pay $24 million. As of this writing, a criminal investigation is still pending involving Mozilo and Countrywide.

Joseph P. NacchioBack to list
Joseph P. Nacchio
Joseph Nacchio at sentencing

On March 15, 2005, former Qwest Communications International Inc. Chairman & CEO, Joseph P. Nacchio, along with six other former executives, were charged by the SEC with securities fraud. The reported $3 billion fraud involved inflated stock prices which occurred between 1999 and 2002, according to the complaint. On December 20, 2005, Nacchio was indicted in Federal Court in Colorado on 42 counts of insider trading. Nacchio was convicted On April 19, 2007 on 19 of the counts. Nacchio was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay $19 million in fines and forfeit $52 million from the illegal stock trades. He is currently appealing the sentence.

Louis Jay PearlmanBack to list
Louis Jay Pearlman
Lou Pearlman mugshot

Louis Jay "Lou" Pearlman is currently serving a 25 year prison sentenced for fleecing investors and lenders out of as much as $300 million in a classic Ponzi scheme using two fictitious companies he promoted, Trans Continental Airlines Travel Services, Inc. and Trans Continental Airlines, Inc. Pearlman's downfall followed a colorful career that included a sometime successful record label, Trans Continental Records, which developed and promoted such noteworthy and successful bands as Backstreet Boys and *Nsync during the 1990s. However, Pearlman's music successes were tainted by lawsuits filed by most of the bands he represented for fraud and misrepresentation. He also developed a talent search business, Trans Continental Talent, which ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Similarly, Pearlman's prior efforts to develop a blimp leasing business, Airship International, also crashed and burned. Meanwhile, Pearlman lived a lavish lifestyle based in his Mediterranean-style mansion outside Orland, Florida. Pearlman's Ponzi scheme reportedly spanned a 20 year period in which he promoted a "Employee Investment Savings Account" investment program which was backed by phony FDIC, Lloyds and AIG documentation as well as offering phony stock in the companies. Investigators finally caught wind of the fraud in 2006, began investigating and in December 2006, filed suit against him for offering unregistered securities. It turned out that the accountants and bank information he had provided were also phony. In February 2007, Florida regulators took control of his companies, but Pearlman had already fled the country in an effort to avoid facing possible criminal charges. Pearlman and his companies had some $317 million in obligations and virtually nothing in their bank accounts. The companies were forced into bankruptcy in March 2007 and assets were liquidated, including the property for his headquarters, which was sold for $34 million. Pearlman was ultimately arrested in Bali, Indonesia on June 14, 2007 and subsequently indicted on three counts of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Pearlman cut a plea agreement deal, pleading guilty to conspiracy, money laundering, and making false statements and was sentenced to 25 years in prison on May 21, 2008. The judge reportedly offered Pearlman to take off one month of his sentence for every $1 million he helps recover. At that time, only $3.5 million of the $300 million had been recovered.

Thomas Joseph PettersBack to list
Thomas Joseph Petters
Tom Petters mugshot

On October 3, 2008, 51-year-old Thomas "Tom" J. Petters, a well known Twin Cities businessman and philanthropist, was arrested and charged with defrauding investors out of as much as $1 billion in a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme involving his businesses, Petters Group Worldwide and the Petters Company, Inc. He was held without bail as secret surveillance tapes revealed that he intended to flee the country. Several other executives of his companies, including Deanna Coleman, Robert White, Michael Catain and Larry Reynolds were also charged in the case. On December 1, 2008, Petters was formally indicted on 20 counts of wire and mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in connection with his alleged fraud, estimated at that time to be approximately $3.65 billion. The alleged Ponzi-scheme fraud involved a scheme to solicit cash from hedge funds, money managers and other investors to buy consumer electronics for resale to retailers such as Costco and Sam's Club. Prosecutors alleged the electronics never existed and the fraud simply fueled the extravagant lifestyle of Petters and the other executives. In January 2009, additional charges were filed against Petters alleging he and two associates, Deanna Coleman and Michael Catain, attempted to hide assets that had been ordered frozen by the Court. It turns out that Deanna Coleman reportedly served as the government's primary whistle blower and witness. Petters' trial proceeded during 2009 and in December 2009, he was found guilty on all felony fraud counts. The other defendants has previously plead guilty to related charges in the case. On April 8, 2010, Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in masterminding the $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. A restitution order was filed on April 28, 2010, seeking $1.945 billion for defrauded investors. Petters is currently serving his 50 year prison sentence at the federal prison located in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Charles PonziBack to list
Charles Ponzi
Charles Ponzi mug shot in or about 1920

Carlo "Charles" Ponzi, whose namesake will forever be associated with white collar crime, was an Italian immigrant who ultimately settled in the Boston area. In the summer of 1919, he created an investment scheme involving pre-paid postal coupons, whereby he promised investors that he could double their money in 90 days. Paying earlier investors off with later investor proceeds, Ponzi gave the impression that he could actually deliver on his "too good to be true" promise of such unheard-of returns. Ponzi, who reportedly at one time could barely afford subway fare and had wandered from city to city since he came to the US in 1903, now lived in a six bedroom manse in the upscale Boston suburb of Lexington while being chauffeured around in a luxury car. When the scheme unraveled in the summer of 1920, he owed more than $28 million to investors. Ponzi was ultimately sentenced to 5 years in prison for mail fraud by the federal government and another 7-9 years for fraud by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Ponzi jumped bail after serving 3½ years of the federal sentence before his Massachusetts sentence began. He surfaced in Florida under an alias with another pyramid scheme selling worthless land he had subdivided into micro parcels sold as acres. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison, but jumped bail again in 1926. He was caught trying to leave the US and was sent back to Boston to complete his sentence. Ponzi ultimately died in a Rio de Janeiro hospital charity ward.

Tomo RazmilovicBack to list
Tomo Razmilovic
Tomo Razmilovic in 1994

In February 2000, Croatian born, Swedish citizen, Tomo Razmilovic became Presdient and CEO of Long Island-based Symbol Technologies, Inc., a bar code technology company, where he had been employed since 1989. At the time of this announcement, Razmilovic was praised by Symbol's founder and Chairman, Dr. Jermoe Swartz, stating that he "is the right person to lead Symbol in the new millennium, and the Board and I want to recognize his accomplishments." Razmilovic started his career with Symbol as Senior Vice President of International Operations based in the U.K. He then became Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Services in 1993 and in October 1995 became President and Chief Operating Officer. However, In February 2002, Razmilovic announced his resignation as President and CEO, effective in May 2002. On June 3, 2004, the Securities & Exchange Commission filed a civil injunctive complaint against Razmilovic and ten other former executives of the company, including Kenneth Jaeggi, former CFO, Brian Burke, former SVP of Worldwide Operations and Chief Accounting Officer, Michael DeGennaro, former SVP of Finance, and Leonard Goldner, former General Counsel. The complaint alleged that from at least 1998 until early 2003, Razmilovic and his co-defendants had engaged in "numerous fraudulent accounting practices" that resulted in the overstatement of some $230 million in revenue for the company. Also on June 3, 2004, Razmilovic and 7 of his alleged co-conspirators were indicted on fraud charges and sought the forfeiture of $74 million from the group. An arrest warrant had been issued on May 28, 2004 for Razmilovic by the Court. However, Razmilovic fled, first to Croatia and then to Sweden, neither of which have extradition treaties with the United States. To date, Symbol itself has paid out civil penalties of $138 million to settle civil fraud charges. Razmilovic reportedly resides with his Swedish wife, Anna, in Bussevik, Sweden and remains a fugitive from US authorities as of this writing.

Marc RichBack to list
Marc Rich
Fugitive Marc Rich wanted poster circa 1983

International commodities trader Marc Rich was indicted in 1983 for evading some $48 million in taxes, and charged with 51 counts of tax evasion and violations of the "Trading With the Enemy Act" in his oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis. Rich fled to Switzerland before he could be prosecuted and remained a fugitive of the United States until he received a last minute pardon from President Clinton in 2001. The pardon required Rich to pay $100 million fine in order to drop the charges. Rich remains on the Forbes list as one of the richest Americans, with a net worth of an estimated $1.5 billion.

John J. Rigas & Timothy J. RigasBack to list
John J. Rigas & Timothy J. Rigas
John Rigas, Adelphia founder, after his arrest in 2002

In May 2002, John Rigas, the founder of cable provider Adelphia Communications Corp., was indicted for bank fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud after the company collapsed. His two sons, Timothy Rigas and Michael Rigas, along with son-in-law Peter Venetis all company executives, and two other executives were also indicted in connection with the apparent fraud at Adelphia. Rigas, his sons and the other executives were accused of concealing some $2.3 billion in corporate liabilities, stealing some $100 million from the company and making false statements to investors. He and his son, Timothy, the former CFO of Adelphia, were convicted in July 2005. John Rigas was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Timothy was sentenced to 20 years. Both of these June 2006 sentences are currently under appeal. As a result of the criminal conviction, John Rigas was stripped of his control as majority owner of the Sabres NHL hockey franchise which filed for bankruptcy and subsequently purchased by another investor.

John RusnakBack to list
John Rusnak
John Rusnak

On January 17, 2003 John Rusnak, a currency trader for Baltimore-based Allfirst Bank (which was at the time part of Allied Irish Bank) was sentenced for 7½ years on charges of bank fraud and fined $1 million. Rusnak tried to hide massive unauthorized trading losses through a series of phony foreign exchange trades in 2001. In one of the biggest cases of bank fraud, Rusnak lost an estimated $691million. The substantial losses resulted from Rusnak taking a wrong gamble on the direction of the Japanese Yen which followed the bursting of the Japanese bubble. As a result of his mistake, Rusnak found himself in a deep hole, ultimately leading to his deception. 

Sujata "Sue" SachdevaBack to list
Sujata
Sujata Sachdeva in an undated photo

Originally hired in 1992, Sujata Sachdeva, known to most people as "Sue", rose to the level of vice president of finance, secretary and principal accounting officer for publicly traded Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based headphones maker, Koss Corporation. Sachdeva, born in 1964, apparently had a penchant for shopping akin to Imelda Marcos and engaged in a scheme to embezzle from the company that lasted nearly six years. In late December 2009, Sachdeva was arrested and charged with wire fraud in connection with the alleged embezzlement of more than $4.5 million from the company to support her apparent desire to live a lavish lifestyle. Koss quickly placed her on unpaid administrative leave, ultimately firing her. As authorities investigated further the estimate of the loss to Koss climbed to $20 million. On January 20, 2010, Sachdeva was formally indicted on six counts of wire fraud for her alleged embezzlement of what was then believed to be as much as $31 million. According to the indictment, Sachdeva authorized numerous wire transfers of funds from company bank accounts to pay for her American Express credit card bills and obtained cashier\'s checks to pay for personal expenses. Further, Sachdeva attempted conceal her fraud by directing other Koss employees to make numerous fraudulent entries in Koss' books and records. The indictment alleges that her embezzlement scheme commenced in January 2004 and lasted nearly six years until December 2009. According to indictment, Sachdeva use the proceeds of her fraud to purchase her home in Mequon, Wisconsin, a vacation ownership interest in the Princeville Ocean Resort Village on Kauai, Hawaii, a 2007 Mercedes Benz automobile and numerous personal luxury items, including clothing, jewelry and art objects. On July 16, 2010, Sachdeva pleaded guilty to all six counts of wire fraud. The estimated loss was now put at $31.5 million. As part of the plea agreement, Sachdeva agreed to make restitution and forfeit her luxury home and some 22,000 personal luxury items she had purchased with the ill-gotten monies, including women's clothing, furs, purses, shoes, jewelry, automobiles, china, statues and household furnishings. Meanwhile, Koss Corporation was forced to restate its financials and faced a series of shareholder lawsuits for false SEC disclosures and fraud. On August 31, 2010, The Securities & Exchange Commission brought a separate action against Sachdeva and a co-worker, Julie Mulvaney, a former senior accountant, charging accounting fraud, books and records violations and other financial misconduct. The complaint alleges the two conspired to make false journal entries to disguise Sachdeva's embezzlement. As of this writing, Sachdeva's sentencing is scheduled for November 18, 2010. When she is hauled off to prison, Sachdeva will leave behind two school age children, Shiva and Simran, and her husband is Dr. Ramesh C. Sujata, a pediatrician in the Milwaukee area.

Richard M. ScrushyBack to list
Richard M. Scrushy
Richard M. Scrushy, not a happy camper

In November 2003, Richard Scrushy, the founder and CEO of HealthSouth Corporation, was indicted on 85 counts of fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and making false statements (the indictment was later reduced to 36 counts). Scrushy, who allegedly falsely inflated the value of HealthSouth by some $2.7 billion, was one of the first people to be charged under the new Sarbanes-Oxley Act. After a three week trial, Scrushy was acquitted on all 36 counts of fraud in 2005. Four months later, Scrushy was again indicted, this time in a separate case involving bribery and mail fraud charges related to payments made to former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, who had also been indicted. They were both found guilty and have yet to be sentenced. In a separate shareholder lawsuit, Scrushy was ordered to repay $47.8 million in bonuses he received from HealthSouth as a result of the alleged fraud.

Ausaf Umar SiddiquiBack to list
Ausaf Umar Siddiqui
Ausaf Umar \'Omar\' Siddiqui mugshot

Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, commonly known as Omar Siddiqui, was an apparently very successful Pakistani American, who rose to the level of Vice President of Merchandising and Operations for Fry's Electronics, a San Jose, California-based electronics retailer. He had a base annual salary of $225,000 and a staff of 120 purchasing department personnel. His group was responsible for the purchasing of merchandise for all of Fry's 34 retail stores around the United States. However, Siddiqui had a dark side including a compulsive gambling habit and a need to live the high life. How he financed his habits became clear on December 18, 2008 when Siddiqui was arrested and charged by the IRS with operating a $65.6 million kickback scheme involving product suppliers of Fry's and a dummy company he had set up known as, PC International LLC. Fry's promptly sued Siddiqui to recover the misappropriated funds, plus a $10.1 million loan to Siddiqui they had previously authorized. It turned out that Siddiqui was being sued by at least three casinos for outstanding debts at the time, including Planet Hollywood, Trump Taj Mahal and the Palms Casino. On January 6, 2009, Siddiqui was formally indicted on 9 felony counts including five counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering, plus one forfeiture count of wire fraud proceeds and one forfeiture count of money laundering proceeds. According to the indictment, Siddiqui set up the sham company in order to receive kickbacks which he described as "commissions" of up to 31 percent from company suppliers in exchange for keeping their goods on Fry's store shelves. The scheme spanned nearly a four year period, from January 2005 until November 2008. However, records indicate Siddiqui had set up his dummy company, PC International LLC in 1998. Meanwhile, Siddiqui racked up huge debts at Las Vegas casinos, such as the Venetian Resort and Casino, owned by the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which received some $17.9 million in payments from Siddiqui. Some of the suppliers named by the IRS as possibly being involved in the case include, Behavior Tech Computer, Inc., Phoebe Micro Inc., Lead Data International, Promedia Technologies, Inc., and Elite Group Computer Systems. Siddiqui pleaded not guilty to the charges on January 15, 2009. Later investigation suggests that Siddiqui's gambling debts could have reached as much as $167 million over a ten year period. As of this writing, jury selection for Siddiqui's criminal trial is scheduled for February 25, 2011. He is reportedly out on $300,000 bail with electronic monitoring, pending his trial.

Robert Allen StanfordBack to list
Robert Allen Stanford
R. Allen Stanford mugshot

By any account, R. Allen Stanford is a colorful character. A fifth generation native of Texas, born on March 24, 1950, Stanford was raised there and became a successful businessman, taking over his father's real estate company and investment company, Houston-based Stanford Financial Group, in the early 1990s. Stanford relocated some of his business operations to the Caribbean, initially Montserrat and ultimately to Antigua, where he started an offshore bank. His became a resident of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands as well as a dual citizen of the US and Antigua and Barbuda. Stanford is reported to have six children by four different women, including one by his one ex-wife, Susan Stanford. He was a big supporter and promoter of the sport of Cricket as well as other high end sports, including Polo, Golf, Tennis and Sailing. In 2006, he was knighted by Antigua and Barbuda for his contributions to that country. Stanford was also known for his philanthropic activities, giving to various charities and hospitals. Nevertheless, on February 17, 2009, Stanford and three of his companies, Stanford Group Company, Stanford International Bank, Ltd., and Stanford Capital Management, LLC, along with two of his executives, James M. Davis, CFO and Laura Pendergest-Holt, Chief Investment Officer, were named in a suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging they had engaged in a "massive ongoing fraud" akin to a Ponzi scheme, involving $8 billion in overvalued certificates of deposit offering unrealistically high rates of interest. Federal authorities raided Stanford's Houston headquarters, froze its assets and placed control of the company in the hands of a receiver. Stanford reportedly attempted to flee the country, but was located at his girlfriend's home in Virginia and ordered to surrender his passport. Stanford was ultimately arrested by FBI agents on June 18, 2009 after a formal indictment was issued against him and three other executives on a variety of charges, including one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud; seven counts of wire fraud; ten counts of mail fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; and conspiracy to obstruct an SEC proceeding. Stanford pleaded not guilty to the charges that reduced the estimated fraud to $7 billion. James Davis, former Stanford Financial Group CFO, pleaded guilty to three felony fraud counts in August 2009. As a result of the criminal proceedings the country of Antigua and Barbuda revoked Stanford's knighthood. As of this writing, charges against three other defendants, Laura Pendergest-Holt, former Chief Investment Officer, Gilberto Lopez, former chief accounting officer, and Mark Kuhrt, former global controller, are pending. Stanford's trial is scheduled for January 2011.

Hisao TanakaBack to list
Hisao Tanaka
Hisao Tanaka

In July 2015, Toshiba’s chief executive officer, Hisao Tanaka resigned, taking responsibility for artificially inflating profits of the Japanese conglomerate by $1.2 billion over a multi-year period.  Tanaka and his colleagues reportedly faked results in order to meet what some have called unrealistic financial goals. The accounting scandal began in let 2008 in order to cover up numerous struggling projects during the global market turndown and continued for more than six years.  Other key executives were forced to resign including vice chairman Norio Sasaki, and Toshiba advisor, Atsutoshi Nishida.  Toshiba revised downward its earnings by ¥224.8 billion ($1.83 billion) its pretax profits from April 2008 to December 2014.  As of this writing (June 2016), Japan’s Securities Exchange and Surveillance Commission (SESC) has sought testimony from Tanaka and is still considering whether to file a formal criminal complaint against him and his former colleagues involved in the scandal.  The SESC fined Toshiba ¥7.37 billion (about $66m).  In the meantime, Toshiba has sued five former executives including Tanaka, seeking damages of Y3.2bn (about $33 million) for mismanagement.  

Fausto Tonna and Calisto TanziBack to list
Fausto Tonna and Calisto Tanzi
Fausto Tonna and Calisto Tanzi

The Parmalat collapse was one of Europe’s largest corporate financial scandals and was dubbed “Europe’s Enron.”  Fausto Tonna, Parmalat’s finance director and Calisto Tanzi, the company’s founder, were the key executives that drove a massive case of financial statement fraud. In the 1990s, the milk-processing company was considered the pride of Italian commerce.  However by 2004 the script had completely flipped. The collapse started in 2003 when bondholders discovered that €4 billion euros supposedly held in a Bank of America account were non-existent. In addition, the transfer documents had been forged.  As a result, Parmalat shares were frozen and both Tonna and Tanzi were arrested.  In 2004, Parmalat’s debt was restated to be 14.3 billion, significantly more than was originally disclosed. In another aspect of this fraud, Luca Sala, Bank of America’s former chief of corporate finances in Italy, participated in a kickback scheme that milked the company for another $27 million.  U.S. creditors filed a $10 billion class action suit against Parmalat’s auditors and bankers.  In 2008, Tonna was sentenced to 2½ years in prison as the mastermind of a scheme of complex offshore subsidiaries used to hide Parmalat’s unscrupulous position. Tanzi was sentenced to 18 years in prison.  By 2011, four of the five banks standing trial were acquitted of the charges against them.   

Robert Lee VescoBack to list
Robert Lee Vesco
Robert Vesco in 1973

Robert L. Vesco, a native of Detroit, Michigan born on December 4, 1935, gained notoriety after successfully acquiring International Controls Corporation ("ICC") using profits from his aluminum trading business he started from scratch. Vesco aggressively grew ICC through debt financed takeovers. In 1970, Vesco led a hostile takeover of Investors Overseas Service, Ltd., an investment firm controlled by another financial fraudster, Bernard Cornfeld. After a protracted takeover battle involving questionable hidden transactions, Vesco gained control in February 1971 and Cornfeld ended up in a Swiss prison for fraud. However, Vesco himself became the subject of law enforcement interest when he was accused of looting the company to the tune of $224 million. Facing SEC charges filed in November 1972 and certain criminal charges of perjury and fraud soon to be filed, Vesco became a fugitive in early 1973, hiding in Costa Rica. Prior to his life on the lam, Vesco, now known as the "fugitive financier", managed to funnel $200,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon's re-election campaign in an attempt to stop the criminal proceedings. Vesco was later formally indicted in abstentia on fraud charges. Vesco continued to elude federal authorities and left Costa Rica in 1978 and spent time in the Bahamas and Antiqua and unsuccessfully attempted to purchase the Island of Barbuda and turn it into a sovereign state. The new government in Costa Rica would not allow Vesco to return and he continued his flight to Nicaragua and ultimately arrived in Cuba in 1982. He was charged in 1984 for drug trafficking and again in 1989 for drug smuggling by US authorities. Castro refused to extradite Vesco back to the US. In May 1995, Vesco had apparently worn out his welcome in Cuba and was charged criminally for "fraud and illicit economic activity" in connection with a purported miracle drug called Trixolin meant to help the body's immunity system. Vesco was seeking a deal with Donald Nixon, the former president's nephew with whom he had previously dealt, to conduct clinical trials of the drug in Cuba. In 1996, Vesco was sentenced to 13 years in prison by Castro's regime. Supposedly known as the "Minister of Corruption" in Cuba, it is believed that Vesco aided Castro by helping set up offshore business entities in order to avoid the US-led embargo. He reportedly remained there until his apparent death of lung cancer on November 23, 2007.

Samuel D. WaksalBack to list
Samuel D. Waksal
Sam Waksal, former CEO of ImClone

In June 2002, Samuel D. Waksal, CEO of the biopharma company he founded, ImClone Systems, Inc., was indicted on insider trading and fraud charges after attempting to sell some 80,000 shares of the company stock prior to a negative report on its anti-cancer drug, Erbitux, which was to be issued by the FDA. Waksal also allegedly tipped off friends and relatives with insider information, including Martha Stewart, whose daughter Alexis, he had reportedly been dating for a number of years. In October 2002, he pled guilty to six charges of bank fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to obstruct justice and perjury. In March 2003 he also pled guilty to additional charges of conspiracy and wire fraud related to sales of artwork he owned. Waksal was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in prison and ordered to pay some $4.3 million in restitution. He is currently serving out his sentence at the Otisville Federal Correctional Institute in New York.

Sholam WeissBack to list
Sholam Weiss
Weiss upon extradition in 2002

As with many other White Collar Rogues, Sholam Weiss is a repeat offender.  After growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Weiss bought and ran Windsor Plumbing Supply when he was 20 years old.  After the company went bankrupt in the late 1980’s, Weiss was indicted on mail fraud charges for claiming a $1 million loss in bathtub inventory allegedly damaged in a fire at one of his company warehouses in 1986. He was found guilty of this fraud in 1994 and sentenced to 8 months in prison. But the crimes for which Weiss would become notorious did not begin until he was in his late 30’s, when federal authorities say he began looting the National Heritage Life Insurance Company.  Authorities alleged that in 1993, Weiss and several associates defrauded the company after they managed to purchase National Heritage with its own funds, by lending the money back to themselves after procurement. The company would later go bankrupt, with over $450 million in losses, the highest insurance company failure in history, according to the FBI.  On November 1st, 1998, Weiss was tried on 78 counts of fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.  During the trial, Weiss’s behavior was so churlish that his attorney, Joel Hirschhorn, felt the need to remind the jury that Weiss was not on trial for being rude.  On October 29th, 1999, Weiss fled the courtroom just as the jury was about to begin deliberating, and escaped.  He was declared a fugitive and placed on the FBI’s most wanted list. On November 1st, 1999, he was found guilty on all charges, and on February 19th, 2000, he was sentenced in absentia to over $125 million in restitutions to the policy holders of National Heritage, and over $123 million in penalties, in addition to spending 845 years in prison, what is believed to be the longest federal prison term ever imposed.  According to reports, Judge Patricia Fawsett, unable to order life imprisonment, devised the 845 year sentence by stacking one 20 year count upon another.  She declared Weiss should be removed from society, permanently, given the magnitude and repeated nature of his fraudulent acts.  After spending a year abroad as a fugitive, Weiss was finally captured in Austria in the fall of 2000. While the Austrian government was working out the details of his extradition back to America, Weiss paid a sum of $1 million to be temporarily released on bail.  Austrian law, however, states that bail may not be paid for with illegal funds, and it was determined that there was no other way Weiss could have come up with the money.  Consequently, he was extradited to the US on June 13th, 2002, despite attempted interventions by both the United Nations and the European Court of Human Rights to keep him in Austria.  Weiss is currently carrying out his 845 year sentence in the US Penitentiary Canaan, 20 miles east of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Assuming he does not die of old age, Sholam Weiss will be free to attempt embezzlement again come November 23rd, 2754.

Albert H. WigginBack to list
Albert H. Wiggin
Albert H. Wiggin

During the 1920s, corruption was rampant on Wall Street. Following the market crash of 1929, the investing public was outraged and out for blood. Albert Wiggin, the head of Chase National Bank at the time, became a target after it was revealed that he shorted some 42,000 Chase Bank shares.  Using his family owned businesses to hide the trades, Wiggin took a position betting on losses for his own company.  Although there were no laws against this at the time, public outcry was so loud against Wiggin that in 1934 adjustments were made to the 1933 securities act, that led to stricter insider trading regulations. So even though Wiggin legally made $4 million from the 1929 crash, because of his deceptive strategy, stricter regulations were later put in place to prevent it from happening again. 

Kirk Sean WrightBack to list
Kirk Sean Wright
Kirk S. Wright

On February 27th, 2006, the SEC filed a complaint against Kirk S. Wright, the then 35-year old founder and CEO of Atlanta-based hedge fund company, International Management Associates LLC, ("IMA") and seven of its funds. Wright founded IMA in 1996, ultimately, had attracted a number of high profile investors, including a number of individuals associated with the National Football League. The complaint charged that false and misleading statements were made and that some $155 million in investor funds were missing. On March 29, 2006, Wright was charged criminally with mail fraud and an arrest warrant was issued by the FBI. Wright was arrested on May 17th in Miami Beach after fleeing authorities and being on the run for 6 weeks. When he was caught, he was using a false identity, "Mark Lakean," driving a Mercedes Benz and had $28,000 in cash in his possession. A federal judge ordered that he make some $20 million in restitution and held without bail since his arrest. On May 21, 2008, Wright was convicted of all 47 counts of fraud, including mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. Sadly, Wright committed suicide in Union City jail in Georgia three days later. He was 37 years old.

 

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