Here is the list of the top seven evil businessmen ever:
A classic rags-to-riches story, Dennis Kozlowski was named CEO of Tyco in 1992. Kozlowski became notorious for his extravagant lifestyle, and he was indicted for tax fraud regarding purchases of fine art. In June 2005, he was convicted of misappropriating more than $600 million of Tyco’s corporate funds. Kozlowski is serving a term of eight years, with a maximum of 25, in prison. His excesses included $6,000 shower curtains, lavish parties at company expense and false bonuses he claimed were given with the approval of the board. Tyco survived Kozlowski’s reign.
Richard Marin Scrushy
Richard Marin Scrushy was the Superstar CEO of HealthSouth. But the billionaire fell from grace after he was twice charged with 30 counts each of illegal practices while acting as CEO for HealthSouth. Federal prosecutors accused him of masterminding a $2.7 billion dollar fraud. His crimes include authorizing the sacking of whistleblowers, bribery, fraudulent accounting practices, extortion, money laundering, and mail fraud. Though he managed to avoid jail in 2003 on the first 30 counts, he was later convicted on 30 different charges in 2007 and sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison. HealthSouth too survived Scrushy’s abuses.
In the wake of a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal that nearly destroyed the Denver-based telecommunications company, former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio was convicted in April 2007 on 19 counts of insider trading. Prosecutors said he illegally sold $52 million in stock in 2001, even as he knew the company was sinking. Nacchio was slapped with a $19 million fine, ordered to forfeit $52 million made from illegal trading, and sentenced to six years in prison. Nacchio began serving his term in 2009 and Qwest was taken over by CenturyLink Communications.
As CEO of Computer Associates, Sanjay Kumar favored the “35-day month” accounting system. By cooking the books and backdating contracts, Kumar took home as much as $330 million in stock bonuses. To bump up revenues and stock prices, Kumar simply tacked on an extra week to a financial reporting period. In spite of Kumar’s efforts to destroy evidence and lie to investigators, his $2.2 billion fraud was exposed. In 2006, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.
Ex-Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling is seen by many as exemplifying the worst in corporate fraud and greed in America. In 2006 he was convicted of multiple federal felony charges relating to Enron’s financial collapse, and is currently serving 14 years of a 24-year, four-month prison sentence. As a big power player at Enron, Skilling encouraged the questionable accounting tactic known as mark-to-market. It allowed Enron to make overly optimistic values for energy prices by appraising company holdings based upon expected values. Enron’s collapse put more than 5,000 people out of work, wiped out more than $2 billion in employee pensions and rendered worthless $60 billion in Enron stock.
In some ways, Kenneth Lay was Enron. Lay helped create the company in 1985; by 2000, he had turned it from a simple natural-gas corporation into an energy-trading giant worth $68 billion. But much of that money was based on shady accounting practices and losses not recorded in its financial statements.
Lay was Skilling’s partner in crime that led to the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history when Enron Corporation failed in 2001. In July 2004, Lay was indicted for his role in the company’s collapse, including 11 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false and misleading statements. Lay died from a heart attack while awaiting sentencing.
Robert Edward Rubin
Robert Edward Rubin is an American economist and banking executive. He served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during both the first and second Clinton administrations. He can be directly linked to the 2008 financial collapse that sent shock waves around the world. As Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, he helped usher in one of the greatest deregulatory eras in U.S. history. He made it possible for banks to gamble taxpayer dollars on volatile stock markets. Rubin earned $120 million working for Citi while the bank piled up bad investment after bad investment, in the end requiring a $45 billion government bailout.