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HomeGlobal NewsFamous Wall Street figures who have been sentenced to prison

Famous Wall Street figures who have been sentenced to prison

July 10 (Reuters) – Archegos Capital Management founder Sung Kook “Bill” Hwang was convicted of fraud and other charges on Wednesday at a criminal trial in New York in the wake of the 2021 collapse of his $36 billion private investment firm.

Each of the charges against Hwang, who had pleaded not guilty, carries a potential penalty of 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Here is a look at prominent Wall Street figures who have been sentenced to prison time.

Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to running the largest-known Ponzi scheme in history, estimated as high as $64.8 billion. For decades, Madoff presented himself as a successful and trusted Wall Street kingpin, attracting high-profile and celebrity investors while secretly engaging in fraud.

Madoff died at age 82 in 2021 while serving a 150-year prison sentence.

“Bernie, up until his death, lived with guilt and remorse for his crimes,” Madoff’s lawyer Brandon Sample said in a statement upon his client’s death.

FTX founder Bankman-Fried was sentenced in March to 25 years in prison for stealing $8 billion from customers of his cryptocurrency exchange, a dramatic downfall for the former billionaire wunderkind. While FTX, which was based in the Bahamas, was not a traditional Wall Street firm, prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried of old-fashioned financial fraud – using customer assets to purchase luxury properties, as well as to prop up his hedge fund and to make political donations.

Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty. His lawyers have argued that while Bankman-Fried overlooked risk management, he did not steal customer money. Bankman-Fried appealed his conviction and prison sentence in April.

Belfort lived a hard-partying, hedonistic lifestyle before being arrested for defrauding investors out of as much as $200 million via his brokerage Stratton Oakmont. He pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering in 1999, and spent 22 months in prison. Belfort is now a motivational speaker and media commentator, and offers sales consulting services.

Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese plumbed Belfort’s descent in the 2013 movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was based on Belfort’s memoir and starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

“The best lesson of everything about my story … is that it sort of represents the best of what you can do with the gifts that gods give you, and also the worst you can do, also with the frailties that gods give you,” Belfort told Reuters in 2011.

Boesky, who helped inspire the greedy Gordon Gekko character in the 1987 movie “Wall Street,” spent nearly two years in prison for his role in one of Wall Street’s biggest insider trading scandals of the 1980s.

Known as “Ivan the Terrible,” Boesky speculated in takeover stocks, saying he bought stocks after formal takeover bids were announced, and his wealth was estimated at $280 million. But authorities said the man known for the “greed is good” ideology obtained tips from investment bankers about deals in the works, and used them illegally.

Boesky pleaded guilty in 1987 to conspiracy charges, and won leniency for cooperating with prosecutors investigating insider trading and junk bond king Michael Milken. Boesky died in May at age 87.

Milken, known as the king of junk bonds, received a 10-year prison sentence in 1990 after pleading guilty to securities violations, including over his dealings with Boesky. Milken spent less than two years behind bars after a federal judge cut his sentence as a reward for cooperating with authorities.

In 1991, Milken co-founded the non-profit Milken Institute, focusing on research including cancer, public health and aging. Milken himself survived advanced prostate cancer. Each year, finance titans flock to the Milken Institute Global Conference, where fund managers woo prospective investors and philanthropies seek out funding.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump pardoned Milken in 2020.

Rajaratnam, the founder of New York-based Galleon Group, was convicted in 2011 of securities fraud and conspiracy in a sweeping U.S. government crackdown on insider trading.

Prosecutors said Rajaratnam made up to $63.8 million in illegal profit from 2003 to 2009 by trading stocks including eBay, and Google. At the time of his sentencing, his net worth was estimated at more than $1 billion.

Rajaratnam was released from prison in 2019. He told Bloomberg in 2022 that he hoped for a comeback on Wall Street. He has maintained his innocence.

(Compiled by Michelle Price; Editing by Will Dunham)

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