Special Report

14 Billionaires Who Went Broke

Wall Street has experienced volatility a number of times since March 2020. COVID-19, GameStop’s activist short squeeze, and the Suez Canal blockage all shook up worldwide commerce. Investment firm Archegos Capital Management could be the next major story. The fund’s multi-billion dollar overleveraged bets on media companies like ViacomCBS and Discovery have come crashing down, throwing Wall Street into disarray. Though the dust has yet to settle, the firm’s founder, Bill Hwang, may have gone from billionaire to broke.

It is rare for a person who has reached the status of billionaire to ever lose it — but it is not unheard of. Most people with the business savvy to amass billions of dollars also know how to maintain their fortune. Occasionally, however, someone who was at one time worth billions sees their net worth drop to near zero.

24/7 Wall St. researched reports of wealthy individuals who lost their fortune. We found more than a dozen billionaires who have gone broke.

Typically, the billionaires on this list lost their money either because of bad investments or criminal activity. Several are notorious scammers who raked in billions of dollars by lying to investors or cooking the books to make their business appear more successful.

Other people on this list gained their billions through divorce but were unable to maintain their wealth, either because of bad investments or lavish spending.

The ultra wealthy can generally stay rich by diversifying their holdings to protect themselves from economic turmoil as well as by hiring the top money managers that can help shield them from recessions. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting financial fallout, the net worth of America’s 614 billionaires grew by over $900 billion, collectively. These are the American billionaires that got richer during COVID.

Click here to see billionaires that have gone broke.

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