Uncovering the Biggest Financial Frauds in History

Insurance Fraud

Former President Jeff Skilling is serving a 24 year sentence. New York money manager Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest fraud ever by an individual, was exposed in December 2008 when Madoff, now doing 150 years in prison, confessed to his sins.

Charles Ponzi

After working various odd jobs and spending a three year stint in prison for forgery, Boston-bound Charles Ponzi embarked upon a new scheme whereby he promised investors – for all intents and purposes victims – a highly attractive return on investment. Ponzi found that international reply coupons (IPC), which could be exchanged for airmail postage stamps abroad, varied in price from country-to-country and in certain instances could be exchanged at a profit of up to 400 percent.

Kazutsugi Nami

The chairman of the Tokyo-based bedding and linen company L&G was sentenced to 18 years in prison on March 18, 2010 for what many believe to be the biggest investment scam in Japan’s history. Whereas the vast majority of financial scams on this scale target investment funds and the wealthy, Nami’s preyed instead on the everyman, as he defrauded some 37,000 people of $1.4bn.

Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout

JPMorgan traders Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout “manipulated and inflated the value of position markings in the Synthetic Credit Portfolio in order to achieve specific daily and month-end profit and loss objectives,” according to a government ruling issued in September last year. “They artificially increased the marked value of securities in order to hide the true extent of significant losses in that trading portfolio.”

Kweku Adoboli

The Ghanian national and Nottingham University graduate Kweku Adoboli was once regarded as an integral part of UBS’ British investment arm. His short-lived success, however, came to an abrupt end in September 2011 shortly after he delivered an email to the bank’s accountant, reading: “I take full responsibility for my actions and the shit storm that will now ensue. I am deeply sorry to have left this mess for everyone and to have put my bank, and my colleagues at risk.”


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