“The theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer,” is the definition of embezzlement. This sounds like a pretty serious crime, but it is actually quite common in the world of today. Common enough that some embezzlement cases are more famous than others, anyway.
As such, we will be taking a look at some of the more famous embezzlement cases in the financial world. Here are the stories that can be found behind them:
1. Robert Vesco
$224 million is a pretty good chunk of change. It was bound to be noticed as missing following the embezzlement by Robert Vesco in the 1970s. There were a few factors that made this case one of the more compelling embezzlement issues of all time.
Firstly, there was the large amount of funds misappropriated. For 1970, that was an astounding amount of money for one person to embezzle. Secondly, the fact that Vesco ultimately escaped any convictions of the crime makes for an infamous end to the case. Vesco fled to Havana, Cuba as the charges against him were filed.
With Cuba refusing to extradite him, Vesco lived the rest of his life in South America with the money he stole until his death in 2007.
In 2011, Enron was rated as the 7th largest company in the world. The world was paying close attention when it was revealed that the company was involved in serious corporate corruption. This became one of the most famous embezzlement cases with thorough workplace investigations conducted in every part of the business. The investigation reports revealed a side of accounting fraud that totaled around $11 billion in funds being embezzled.
White collar crime is one thing, but another factor that made this case infamous was that there were some pretty major political issues in play, as well. The leaders of Enron were tied rather closely to the White House. This apparently allowed the company to become deregulated and operate without vital government oversight. A scandal worth international headlines.
In the end, Enron went bankrupt, costing the shareholders a total of $74 billion. The CEO, Jeff Skilling also received 24 years in federal prison for the crime.
3. Lee Jae-Yong
Not only did this case make international headlines, but it also changed the political landscape of an entire country. As one of South Korea’s number one brands, Samsung is a real heavy hitter in the world. Therefore, a political and financial scandal revolving around the company was sure to make an impact.
It was revealed that the acting head of Samsung, Lee Jae-Yong was embezzling funds to an individual with extremely close ties to the South Korean president. The funds were totaled at $36 million in all. This led to the imprisonment of Lee Jae-Yong and the impeachment of South Korean president, Park Geun-Hye.
4. Bernie Madoff
Arguably the most infamous of all embezzlement cases, Bernie Madoff carried out a Ponzi scheme that ultimately allowed him to steal $50 billion dollars. While his crime was wildly successful in unimaginable ways, it was also pretty difficult to hide for long.
There were a few different things that led to Madoff’s downfall, but they all added up to a hefty punishment. Bernie Madoff received a prison sentence totaling 150 years, and eventually died while serving it.
5. Alan Stanford
Just below Bernie Madoff sits Alan Stanford. An owner of a group of financial companies that simply were not on the level. In fact, his main company was an offshore bank located in Anigua, which is a major red flag of a classic Ponzi scheme. Over two decades, Stanford embezzled approximately $8 billion in funds from a variety of shady dealings.
Just like Bernie Madoff, Stanford could not hide his crimes forever. He ended up being convicted of 13 of 14 counts of embezzlement by federal prosecutors, netting him a 110 year prison sentence.
6. Dane Cook
Fans of stand-up comedy may be familiar with funny man Dane Cook. However, they may not know that Cook was the victim of embezzlement by his own brother. Darryl McCauley, Dane Cook’s half brother, actively embezzled millions from the comedian while acting as his business manager.
This crime went unchecked for a large amount of Cook’s career. This was most likely because Cook trusted his half-brother not to do something like steal from him. In the end, though, Cook found out. It was discovered that McCauley had gone so far as to forge his brother’s signature in order to grant himself $3 million.
The act of greed earned McCauley a 6 year prison sentence and left the comedian with a loss of millions.
7. Fry’s Electronics
Fry’s Electronics is an iconic chain store that specializes in electronic goods, naturally. As electronics are a hot commodity in the modern world, the chain has seen great success in recent years. However, that was simply not enough for the Vice President of Merchandising and Operations, Omar Siddiqui. Experts say that a crippling gambling addiction led Siqqiqui to embezzle around $65.6 million in funds from the chain.
Of course, it is difficult to hide something like that from the United State’s Internal Revenue Service, otherwise known as the IRS. For his crimes, the IRS went after Siddiqui and had him arrested in 2008. He was then promptly convicted and sentenced to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to his crimes.