WeWork’s co-founder and former chairman Adam Neumann received $1.7 billion in stock, credit, and fees to step down as head of the company. He is one of many executives to receive a “golden parachute” — and now he also ranks among the world’s many billionaires. Once someone attains their status as a billionaire, it is incredibly rare that they lose it.
The ultra-rich are typically able to diversify their wealth and protect themselves from economic instability (this is how the wealthy protect their assets in a recession.) But there have instances where some billionaires have gone broke — with some losing their money, and the more dishonest ones also losing their freedom.
To determine the billionaires who have gone broke, 24/7 Wall St. researched reports from financial outlets such as Forbes, Business Insider, and others about people who had a personal net worth of close to $1 billion or more who either filed for bankruptcy or lost the vast majority of their wealth due to poor investments, government seizure, or other legal action. In several cases, the billionaires had been indicted for financial impropriety or forced to file for bankruptcy, but died before their wealth could be seriously impacted.
The billionaires who went broke do not seem to have much in common on the surface. Most made their fortunes in different ways — banking, hedge funds, oil, biotech, and even umbrellas. They also hail from many different countries, including the United States, Brazil, Iceland, India, and others. Still, a great many of the billionaires have one key thing in common — they ran their own company with great success but lost their fortunes once they were caught breaking the law.
These former billionaires who lied to shareholders, cooked the books at their companies, or outright stole money from their investors often landed in prison. In fact, many corporate leaders ares still being caught committing crimes. These are the worst CEOs of the past year.