Though billionaire status is becoming increasingly common,
it’s hard to imagine amassing such a prodigious fortune over the course of a human lifetime.
Most individuals who have the skill or luck to stockpile
this much money manage to invest it wisely and build generational wealth,
but others don’t have the business acumen to maintain their fortunes.
Today we are looking at billionaires who lost it all on our list of
Top 10 Billionaires Who Are Now Broke.
10. Allen Stanford
Alan Stanford is a Texas native who ran the second biggest Ponzi scheme of all time.
Though he made off with an absolute Incredible sum of money ($1 million per day),
he was discovered a mere two months after Bernie madoff
and he did not make the same headlines but unlike the victims of Bernie madoff who have
gotten back large chunks of their principal,
the 18,000 customers of Stanford have recovered practically nothing
in total he stole more than $8 billion and remained
unchallenged because he donated millions of dollars to politicians in both the United States and the Caribbean.
Initially judges ruled that insurance companies were liable to pay $65 million to the victims of this
terrible scheme but in the end they boiled It’s ruling.
After the SEC rated Stanford’s offices in 2009, his business empire was essentially shut down.
While Stanford claimed the accounts were back by solid assets
and posted returns that consistently beat the market,
the SEC alleged the entire operation was a fraud that financed Stanford’s lavish lifestyle.
He’s now serving a 110 year sentence for his misdeeds but the bottom line is that his victims,
many of them elderly retirees will never see a penny of their money back.
9. Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson
Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson was once Iceland’s richest man,
he became Iceland second billionaire after his own son.
He was at one time the majority owner and chairman
of a now nationalized Icelandic Landsbankinn the second largest company in Iceland.
He was ranked by Forbes magazine in March 2000 As the 1014th richest person in the world with a net worth of $1.1 billion.
In the 1990s, he was sentenced to 12 months in prison and suspended for two years for bookkeeping offenses,
having faced around 450 charges,
he went to We made his fortune and return to Iceland where he also had interest in shipping,
publishing, food, communications and property.
Fast forward to 2009 when he was $759 million in debt,
it was the largest bankruptcy filing in Icelandic history,
Essentially Landsbankinn was hit by the credit crunch that wrote
the financial industry in 2009 and Gudmundsson lost everything.
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Although they were both implicated in the panama papers, his son is still a billionaire.
8. Patricia Kluge
It reads almost like a Cliché movie plot, the sad tale goes like this,
a beautiful young woman marries a billionaire divorces
and uses her healthy settlement to strike out into a celebrated business only to lose it all.
Rather than a contrived film plot,
this is the real life story of Patricia.
Her former husband John Kluge was a legendary businessman who at one point
was the richest man in the world, Born in Chemnitz, Germany.
He Eventually became a media mogul and made a huge $4 billion
fortune in 1986 after selling his production company to 20th Century Fox.
Patricia kluge married the billionaire John Kluge 34 years her senior.
In 1981, there Jet Setting life became a myth among the ultra rich and when kluge
divorced her in 1990 she walked away with $1 billion and their family home.
Kluge’s plan was to use their Virginia estate as a vendor and establish the area as the California of the East Coast,
she took out millions of dollars of loans to accomplish this and obviously
Virginia did not become the epicenter of refined wines.
Deeply in debt, kluge sold her winery to president Donald Trump.
He still owns the property and allowed kluge to work there for one year before firing her.
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7. Sean Quin
As of 2008, Sean Quinn was the richest man in Ireland with a wealth of roughly $5 billion,
only three years later he was filing for bankruptcy.
When he was only 14 years old,
he dropped out of school in order to borrow 100 pounds and sell gravel. This eventually became a massive conglomerate,
with arms in construction,
banking and healthcare Quin suddenly became a legend for Irish people during the 90s
When he literally punched a British soldier who tried to detain him at a checkpoint.
This goodwill served him when he lost the entirety of his fortune on bad banking investments,
in the end he served a small period of jail time and was released for good behavior,
he still doesn’t have another business empire but he continues trying to track lucrative investments,
he was recently in the news because gangsters beat the director of his company and claimed
that Quinn was threatening the conglomerate to allow him back on the board.
Quin obviously denied these claims but it’s clear that he has fallen from grace.
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6. Alberto Vilar
Alberto vilar is another billionaire who lead a life of crime,
he made his fortune investing in tech stocks but in 2008 he was convicted of money laundering.
For Mr vilar who lived in a luxury apartment with marble floors and a large bronze statue.
He fall from grace with swift, he was a legendary arts patron
and had a particular pension for opera but after the revelation that he defrauded thousands of people,
the arts community responded with a unified front, the mat took his name off it’s Gran tear,
the Royal opera House Covent garden in London removes
Vilar from its Laura Hall and the Salzburg festival took his picture out of its programs,
finally a judge sentenced him to nine years in prison for his role in a
$22 million fraud scheme but now he is a freeman,
his first act after his release from prison was to buy tickets to an opera at the met.
Though he remains an extremely controversial figure,
it’s clear that the septuagenarian will not make his billions back anytime soon.
5. Jocelyn Wildestein
Nicknamed Catwoman for the results of her Believably unflattering plastic surgery,
Jocelyn Wildenstein is an American socialite who made her billions by marrying rich.
She was born in Lausanne Switzerland in 1940 and was introduced to Alec
and Wildenstein by a sudden arms dealer Adrian Khashoggi at a shooting Weekend at his ranch in Africa.
The two were married when they were both in their 30s,
Wildenstein was a horse breeder and art dealer with a net worth of over $10 billion,
when they split in 1999,
she walked away with $2.5 billion in her divorce settlement and $100 million
Each year for the following 13 years but
her lavish lifestyle took its toll and the sad divorcee filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
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Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford university at 19 to start blood testing startup Theranos And grew the company to evaluation of $9 billion.
They claim to have revolutionize the blood testing industry
but it all came crashing down with the shortcomings and inaccuracies of the companies technology
were exposed and Theranos and holmes were charged with massive fraud.
The decline of Theranos began in 2015 with
a series of journalistic and regulatory investigations revealed doubts about the companies technology claims
and whether holmes have missed lead investors and the government.
In 2018, the SEC charged Theranos and holmes
with deceiving investors by Massive fraud through false or exaggerated claims
about the accuracy of her blood testing technology.
Holmes settled the charges by paying a $500,000 fine,
returning shares to the company relinquishing her voting control of
Theranos and being barred from serving as an officer or Have a public company for 10 years.
After making Forbes list in 2014, holmes has been embroiled
in a legal scandal the following years and can’t even afford to pay her lawyers.
This has been a spectacular fall from grace.
3. Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya is a former liquor baron who made his fortune with united spirits the largest
spirits company in India and continues to serve
as chairman of United breweries group in Indian conglomerate with interests including beverages,
aviation infrastructure, real estate and fertilizer.
He has been the chairman of Sanofi India and the chairman of Bayer
Crop science in India for over 20 years and the chairman of several other companies,
his father actually founded these businesses which Mellya inherited when he was 28 years old,
since then the group has grown into a multinational conglomerate of over 60 companies.
With an annual turnover which increased by 64% over 15 years to $11 billion in
1998 but as with most individuals
on this list Mallya made one bad investment that take his entire fortune,
kingfisher airlines went down in 2013 and had $1.5 billion in bad loans connected with the Indian air carrier.
Mallya was recently convicted as a wealth of the falter
and is fighting extradition in London at the moment.
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2. Eike Batista
Eike Batista was once Brazil’s richest man but he lost his Fortune in monumental fashion.
Batista’s meteoric rise and fall mirror the recent portions of Brazil,
where a commodities boom faded as his energy, mineral and logistics empire fell apart earlier this decade.
His swashbuckling attitude and confident forecast of a prolong Golden era
for Brazil evaporated as Latin America’s largest economy suffered its worst recession on record.
In early 2012,
Batista had a net worth of $35 billion ranking him the seventh wealthiest person in the world, by July 2013,
his wealth plummeted to $200 million due to his debts and his companies falling stock prices.
Bloomberg reported in January 2014 that Batista has a negative net worth,
he was convicted for paying $16.6 million to get government contracts
as part of a sprawling corruption Prop known as “carwash”
and sentenced to 30 years which he is serving under house arrest but earlier this year,
he was also sentenced to seven years of prison for insider trading
adding to his already heavy prison time.
Here is a billionaire who we properly recognize.
Bernie madoff became the face of a 2008 financial meltdown,
when it became clear that he was responsible for the single largest Ponzi scheme in world history.
Madoff founded a penny stock brokerage in
1960 which eventually grew into Bernard El Madoff investment securities.
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He served as its chairman until his arrest on December 11, 2008.
Despite claiming to generate large steady returns through an investing strategy called split-strike conversion
which is an actual trading strategy, madoff simply deposited
client funds into a single Bank account that he used to pay existing clients who wanted to cash out.
In total, he smuggled more than $64 billion away in order to pay for his own lavish lifestyle.
On June 29, 2009 he was sentenced to 150 years in prison with restitution of $170 billion,
though some of this money has been reclaimed and distributed amongst his victims,
the vast majority of this wealth will never be returned,
almost 5000 individuals lost their savings in the scheme and
they were not able to retire comfortably as a result.
Madoff recently asked President Trump to commute his sentence proving
he still has no signs of remorse in prison.
Adolph Merkel was born in Dresden Germany and over the
course of his lifetime he became one of the wealthiest people in his home country.
He developed his bohemian Fathers chemical wholesale
company into Germany’s largest pharmaceutical wholesaler phoenix farmer handle,
in the early 1970s,
he found a Germany’s first generic drug manufacturer ratio farm,
for several decades he also held large parts of cement company
Heidelberg cement as well as Vehicle manufacturer Kassbohrer.
In 2007 he was worth $12.8 billion according to Forbes but Merkel never had an appetite for the finer things.
He live so modestly that he cycle to work on
a 15-year-old bike for most of the year and in bad weather he drove a four years old VW golf,
he had no bodyguards or servants.
Without so much as a CCTV camera for protection
and stopped off at his local pub on the way home each night to share a drink with regulars
But just like most other billionaires on this list,
Merkel lost a fortune during the 2008 economic downturn,
this was accompanied by a poor investment in Volkswagen and in the end,
Merkel came to the external pressure and took his own life.