White collar crimes are generally those crimes concerning embezzlement, fraud, and insider trading. The people behind these harebrained schemes typically receive huge payouts, which is the most appealing part of the crime.
Money makes people do crazy things, and white collar criminals are the greenest of them all. The United States economy loses hundreds of millions of dollars every year to white collar criminals, which is why the authorities are consistently on the hunt for new legal conquests.
Take a look at a few of the most notorious white collar criminals in history.
Charles Ponzi – Estimated Booty: $250,000 a day
Charles Ponzi is the notorious father of the so-called “Ponzi Scheme.” and for good reason. Possibly the most profitable white collar crime in history, Ponzi drew in the equivalent of more than a quarter of a million dollars per day.
Charles devised an operation that used the money from his current investors to pay a return to his original investors. He quintessentially robbed Peter to pay Paul and kept any profit for himself.
Bernard Madoff – Estimated Booty: $65 Billion
Madoff pulled off an almost perfect “Ponzi” scheme, and was only caught due to a recession. Had the U.S. economy not taken a plunge in the late 90’s, Bernie may well have gone on for much longer.
As the former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange, Madoff was highly revered for his financial management knowledge. Investors were more than eager to give him their money.
Bernard encouraged wealthy individuals and businesses to invest, and paid off existing investors with new donations. Pocketing the difference, Madoff became a very wealthy individual.
Martin Frankel – Estimated Booty: $200 Million +
Martin Frankel was a particularly unethical white collar criminal who defrauded several insurance agencies around the nation for an estimated $200 million. Frankel acquired the insurance companies through a private trust fund set up under a false name to stay under the radar.
He was banned from doing so under his own name due to suspicious activity a few years before. He was caught because he converted his money to diamonds. He forged false papers to move the diamonds, and was busted.
Samuel Israel III & Daniel Marino – Estimated Booty: $300 Million
These two hot shots set themselves up for failure by spending their investor’s money on lavish lifestyle choices. The took in over $300 million in investments, promising over $7 billion in returns.
When the two were finally forced to confront the lack of return, they took one step further into the world of white collar crime. Samuel and Daniel created their own (fake) accounting firm to create misleading auditing results.
When the two were close to being bust, and the gig was up, Marino tried to fake his death. He was caught shortly thereafter.