Where to begin? Madoff masterminded the ur-Ponzi scheme, and America is still reeling.
Ames was a CIA agent for 32 years before he was arrested in 1994 for selling state secrets to the Soviet Union since 1985. He blamed his actions on financial troubles stemming from alimony payments to his ex-wife, who left him when she found out he wanted to marry his longtime mistress.
As the chairman of Enron, Lay refined the Ponzi scheme into corporate heist, convincing investors that his company made billions more a year than the company actually earned a year before it was revealed to be a scam in late 2001. He was convicted on 10 counts, including fraud, in 2006, but he died of a heart attack before serving any time behind bars.
The notorious check-forging teen con man's autobiography inspired Leo's character in 2002's Catch Me if You Can.
Rocancourt has assumed countless identities over the years, including, most infamously, that of a French heir to the Rockefeller fortune. He was friends with boldface names (Mickey Rourke, Naomi Campbell, Jean-Claude Van Damme) and claimed to have made $40 million during his life—but he was convicted of conning folks out of a paltry $1.5 million. Chump change!
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