In honor of April Fool’s Day, we’ve brought you the top 5 money fools of all time. (Spoiler: Bernie Madoff is NOT #1!) Check 'em out:
5. Charles Ponzi.
Charlie's got a whole brand of fraud named after him. In the end, he was caught, imprisoned, financially ruined, and deported. Though he was a master swindler in his prime, he ended his life disgraced, ruined, and jumping from fruitless scheme to scheme.
4. Frank William Abagnale, Jr.
This guy isn't a fool so much as a bad-ass. The inspiration for Leo's character in Catch Me If You Can, Abagnale's fools were definitely movie-worthy. Starting at age 16, he forged $2.5 million in checks, impersonated an airline pilot, doctor, lawyer, and a prison inspector, and escaped from police custody twice. In the end, he served less than five years before being released to help the government track down other fraudsters.
3. Bernie Madoff.
We had to put him in here somewhere. In December of 2008, ol’ Bernie admitted that his investments were “all one big lie.” Losses were estimated at $65 billion, which made his the biggest investor fraud in history.
2. Lou Pearlman.
The former manager of the Backstreet Boys and *N Sync was convicted of conspiracy and money laundering in 2008. Madoff may have run the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, but Pearlman's was one of the longest. At the final tally, his debt was about $300 million. He was sued by the Backstreet Boys, *N Sync, and Aaron Carter, who said that Pearlman and his record company cheated him out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was even accused of inappropriate sexual conduct! We think he’s a pretty big fool, April or not.
1. Cassie L. Chadwick.
Our #1 fool, Cassie started off as a phony psychic and owner of a brothel in the late 1800s, but moved on to impersonating rich man Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter. She used this street cred to take out tremendous loans and lead the lifestyle of the rich and infamous (think diamond necklaces and a gold organ). She racked up $5 million in debt before she was called out. One bank in Ohio actually declared bankruptcy after her massive default caused a run on its finances. In the end, Cassie died blind and in jail. A lesson on debt, anyone?
Have a great day, but don't be an April fool!
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