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Best Bad People Who Ran Companies of All Time

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    1
    Kobi Alexander

    Kobi Alexander

    Jacob "Kobi" Alexander (born May 4, 1952) is an American businessman. He is the the founder and the former CEO of New York-based Comverse Technology. In 2006, he was charged with multiple counts of fraud and related offenses pertaining to irregularities in trading of Comverse stock; he subsequently fled to Namibia, a nation which has no extradition treaty with the US. Alexander founded Comverse Technology (NASDAQ: CMVT) in 1982 and built it up from a 3-person Israeli startup to employing over 5,000, becoming the leading provider of software and systems for telecommunication companies worldwide. Comverse’s success led to its inclusion in the NASDAQ 100 and S&P 500 indices. Alexander was born on May 4, 1952, into a middle class family in Kfar Saba, Israel. His mother was a school teacher, and his father an officer in the signal corps of the Israeli Defense Forces, and later, the Managing Director of the Israeli National Oil Company. Following military service, Alexander enrolled in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, receiving a BA in Economics Magna Cum Laude in 1977. In 1978 he traveled to the United States earning an MBA at New York University. In his early years in New York, he
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    3

    Patrick Naughton

    Patrick Naughton (born in 1965) is an American software developer, best known as being one of the original creators of the Java programming language. As a Sun engineer, Patrick Naughton had become increasingly frustrated with the state of Sun's C++ and C APIs (application programming interfaces) and tools. While considering moving to NeXT, Naughton was offered a chance to work on new technology and thus the Stealth Project was started. The Stealth Project was soon renamed to the Green Project with James Gosling and Mike Sheridan joining Naughton. Together with other engineers, they began work in a small office on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. They were attempting to develop a new technology for programming next generation smart appliances, which Sun expected to be a major new opportunity. In June and July 1994, after three days of brainstorming with John Gage, the Director of Science for Sun, James Gosling, Bill Joy, Naughton, Wayne Rosing, and Eric Schmidt, the team re-targeted the platform for the World Wide Web. They felt that with the advent of the first graphical web browser, Mosaic, the Internet was on its way to evolving into the same highly interactive medium
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    4

    William Aramony

    William Aramony (July 27, 1927 – November 11, 2011) was CEO of United Way of America for more than twenty years and helped build the organization into the largest charity in the United States. He retired in 1992 amid allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement, for which he was subsequently convicted and sentenced to prison. William J. Aramony was born in Jewett City, Connecticut. His parents, Russell & Nazley Farrah Aramony, immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, and he was the youngest of their five children. He grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduated from Clark University in 1949 and matriculated at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, where in 1951 he earned a master's degree. Aramony married the former Bebe Ann Nojeim, and the union produced three children, William, Susan and Robert. Son Robert was at one time president of Sales Service/America Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of UWA. Aramony served in the Medical Service Corps of the United States Army, treating soldiers returning from the Korean War with posttraumatic stress disorder. He was assigned to a Texas military hospital from 1951 to 1953 as a lieutenant. Aramony began in 1954 as a staff
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    4 votes
    5

    Robert Courtney

    Robert Ray Courtney (born 1952 in Hays, Kansas) is a former pharmacist who owned and operated Research Medical Tower Pharmacy in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2002 he was convicted of pharmaceutical fraud and sentenced to federal prison. Courtney was born in Hays, Kansas. His father was a traveling minister based in Scott City, Kansas and described Courtney as an "ideal son." He played the trombone at Wichita South High School. Courtney graduated from the School of Pharmacy at University of Missouri–Kansas City in 1975. He was a large donor to the school after graduating. Before his arrest, Courtney served as a deacon at an Assembly of God Church in Kansas City. In 1990, Courtney began purchasing pharmaceuticals on the gray market and using them to fill prescriptions at his pharmacy. In time, he began diluting prescriptions to increase profits. Both practices were illegal. In 1992, he and his first wife divorced; Courtney retained custody of their two daughters. His second marriage lasted four or five days and was later annulled. In 1994, his third wife, Laura Courtney gave birth to twins. In 1998, an Eli Lilly sales representative noticed a discrepancy between the amount of the cancer
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    6

    Russell Cline

    Russell Warren Brent Cline (born about 1965) founded Orion International in 1998, a foreign currency trading firm based in Portland, Oregon. In 2003 he was charged in federal court with running a classic Ponzi scheme. Cline pleaded guilty and was imprisoned at USP Lompoc. Cline was a former house painter from Baker City, Oregon. In 1998 he founded Orion International, specializing in trading foreign currency through a brokerage based in London. They promised returns anywhere from 60% to 200% with very little risk, because of their sophisticated trading techniques. In August, 2002 Cline notified his customers that he had lost 97% of their money, blaming poor trades and typographical errors, and asked for additional funds to make the money back. In reality the money had been spent on luxury cars, private jets, real estate, boats and $12,000 for pornography. It is estimated that over 600 people invested $27 million in Orion. On May 8, 2003 a federal court froze all Cline's assets and prevented any document destruction at Orion. He was indicted along with other Orion employees, including Samantha Vorachith, April Duffy and Nancy Hoyt. In May, 2004 Cline was charged in federal court
    7.33
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    7
    Agha Hasan Abedi

    Agha Hasan Abedi

    Agha Hasan Abedi also known as Agha Sahab (May 14, 1922, Lucknow, India – August 5, 1995, Karachi, Pakistan) was a banker and philanthropist who founded the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in 1972. BCCI was at one point the seventh largest private bank in the world, but it collapsed in 1991 after regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom found it was involved in a money laundering scandal. Mr. Abedi underwent a heart transplant operation in 1988, and died of a heart attack on August 5, 1995 in Karachi. Agha Hasan Abedi was born in Lucknow, India and migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India, in 1947. Beginning his career with Habib Bank before independence, he brought about significant changes in Pakistan's banking culture when he founded the United Bank Ltd (UBL) in 1959. Starting as its first general manager, he quickly rose to the position of president and chairman of the board of directors. Under his stewardship, UBL became the second largest bank in Pakistan. Mr Abedi introduced a host of professional innovations, including the concept of personalised service and banking support to trade and industry, paying particular attention to the
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    8
    Jeffrey Skilling

    Jeffrey Skilling

    Jeffrey Keith "Jeff" Skilling (born November 25, 1953) is the former president of Enron Corporation, headquartered in Houston, Texas. In 2006 he was convicted of multiple federal felony charges relating to Enron's financial collapse, and is currently serving a 24-year, four-month prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado. The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in the appeal of the case March 1, 2010. On June 24, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated part of Skilling's conviction and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings. In April, 2011 a three judge 5th Circuit Court panel ruled that the verdict would have been the same despite the legal issues under discussion, and Skilling's conviction was upheld. Skilling appealed this new decision to the Supreme Court, but was denied certiorari. Skilling was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was the second of four children. He grew up in New Jersey and Aurora, Illinois. When he was 16, he worked at WLXT (channel 60), a UHF television station in Aurora. After graduating from West Aurora High School, Skilling received his B.S. in applied science at Southern Methodist
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    9

    Phillip E. Hill, Sr.

    Phillip E. Hill, Sr. (born 1956) was the ringleader of the largest mortgage fraud scheme ever prosecuted in the State of Georgia. Hill was found guilty of 168 counts of fraud and money laundering on March 14, 2007 in the Northern District of Georgia. On September 21, 2007, U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. sentenced Hill to prison for 28 years. Hill is currently incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution in Marianna, Florida, a medium security facility housing male inmates. His projected release date is August 2, 2031. During his trial, prosecutors identified Hill as the ringleader in three interlocking mortgage fraud schemes built on metro-Atlanta real estate sales that, between 2001 and 2003, bilked lenders out of more than $40 million. According to the evidence at trial, Hill was the owner and operator of “We Build Atlanta, Inc.,” “The Estate Firm, Inc.,” “Estate Artistians of Georgia, Inc.,” “Estates Atlanta, Inc.,” and numerous other Georgia corporations. Hill controlled the affairs of each such corporation. Hill held himself out to be a real estate developer, and either individually or through one or more of the corporations he controlled, purchased and sold
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    10

    Barry Minkow

    Barry Jay Minkow (born March 17, 1967) is a former businessman, pastor and convicted felon. While still in high school, he founded ZZZZ Best (pronounced Zee Best), which appeared to be an immensely successful carpet-cleaning and restoration company. However, it was actually a front to attract investment for a massive Ponzi scheme. It collapsed in 1987, costing investors and lenders $100 million—one of the largest investment frauds ever perpetrated by a single person, as well as one of the largest accounting frauds in history. The scheme is often used as a case study of accounting fraud. After being released from jail, Minkow became a preacher and a fraud investigator, and spoke at schools about ethics. This all came to an end in 2011, when he admitted to helping deliberately drive down the stock price of homebuilder Lennar and was ordered back to prison. Minkow grew up in a Jewish family in Reseda in the San Fernando Valley. When he was nine years old, his mother got him a job as a telemarketer with the carpet-cleaning business where she worked. At the age of 15—while a sophomore at Cleveland High School, Minkow started ZZZZ Best in his parents' garage with three employees and four
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    11
    Martha Stewart

    Martha Stewart

    Martha Stewart (née Kostyra; born August 3, 1941) is an American business magnate, author, magazine publisher, and television personality. As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she has gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, merchandising, and electronic commerce. She has written numerous bestselling books, is the publisher of the Martha Stewart Living magazine, and her syndicated talk show, Martha, is broadcast internationally. In 2004, Stewart was entangled in the ImClone insider trading affair and there was speculation that the incident would effectively be the end of her media empire. She began a comeback campaign in 2005 and her company returned to profitability in 2006. Stewart rejoined the board of directors of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in 2011 and became chairman of her namesake company again in 2012. Martha Stewart was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is the second of six children born to middle-class Polish Americans Edward "Eddie" Kostyra (1912 – 1979) and Martha Ruszkowski Kostyra (1914 – 2007). When Stewart was three years old, the family moved to Nutley. She adopted the name "Grace" for her
    7.50
    2 votes
    12
    Bernard Ebbers

    Bernard Ebbers

    Bernard John "Bernie" Ebbers (born August 27, 1941) is a Canadian-born businessman. He co-founded the telecommunications company WorldCom and is a former chief executive officer of that company. In 2005, he was convicted of fraud and conspiracy as a result of WorldCom's false financial reporting, and subsequent loss of US$100-billion to investors. The WorldCom scandal was, until the Madoff schemes came to light in 2008, the largest accounting scandal in United States history. He is currently serving a 25-year prison term at Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex in Louisiana. Portfolio.com and CNBC named Ebbers as the fifth-worst CEO in American history; Time magazine named him the tenth most corrupt CEO of all time. Born to the family of a traveling salesman, Bernard Ebbers was the second of five children. He was born in Edmonton and his family also lived in California and New Mexico, while he was growing up, before returning to Edmonton. After high school, Ebbers briefly attended the University of Alberta and Calvin College before enrolling at Mississippi College. During the time between schools he worked as a milkman and bouncer. While attending Mississippi College, Ebbers earned
    7.00
    2 votes
    13
    Kenneth Lay

    Kenneth Lay

    Kenneth Lee "Ken" Lay (April 15, 1942 – July 5, 2006) was an American businessman, best known for his role in the widely reported corruption scandal that led to the downfall of Enron Corporation. Lay and Enron became synonymous with corporate abuse and accounting fraud when the scandal broke in 2001. Lay was the CEO and chairman of Enron from 1985 until his resignation on January 23, 2002, except for a few months in 2000 when he was chairman and Jeffrey Skilling was chief executive officer (CEO). He took a regional natural gas pipeline business and turned it into a energy conglomerate with a market capitalization of $70 billion, betting the future on unregulated energy markets. On July 7, 2004, Lay was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts of securities fraud and related charges. On January 31, 2006, following four and a half years of preparation by government prosecutors, Lay's and Skilling's trial began in Houston. Lay was found guilty on May 25, 2006, of 10 counts against him; the judge dismissed the 11th. Because each count carried a maximum 5- to 10-year sentence, legal experts said Lay could have faced 20 to 30 years in prison. However, he died while vacationing in Snowmass,
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    1 votes
    14

    Dennis Kozlowski

    Leonard Dennis Kozlowski (born November 16, 1946) is a former CEO of Tyco International, convicted in 2005 of crimes related to his receipt of $81 million in purportedly unauthorized bonuses, the purchase of art for $14.725 million and the payment by Tyco of a $20 million investment banking fee to Frank Walsh, a former Tyco director. He is currently serving 8.33 to 25 years at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, New York. His earliest release date is January 17, 2014, when he becomes eligible for parole. According to New York state inmate directory he has been granted conditional release at Lincoln Correctional Facility in New York City. Kozlowski was born in Newark, New Jersey. His mother, Agnes (née Kozell), worked for the Newark Police Department and as a school crossing guard, and his father, Leo Kelly Kozlowski, worked for the Public Service Transport. His parents were second-generation Polish-Americans. Kozlowski attended Seton Hall University, a Catholic university. Kozlowski joined Tyco in 1975, becoming CEO in 1992. With Kozlowski at the helm, Tyco massively expanded during the late 1990s. The company consistently beat Wall Street's expectations and through a
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    1 votes
    15
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    16

    Charles Keating, Jr.

    Charles Humphrey Keating, Jr. (born December 4, 1923) is an American athlete, lawyer, real estate developer, banker, and financier, most known for his role in the savings and loan scandal of the late 1980s. Keating was a champion swimmer for the University of Cincinnati in the 1940s. From the late 1950s through the 1970s, he was a noted anti-pornography crusader, founding decency organizations and serving as a dissenting member on the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. In the 1980s, Keating ran American Continental Corporation and the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, and took advantage of loosened restrictions on banking investments. His enterprises began to suffer financial problems and were investigated by federal regulators. His association with, and financial contributions to, five U.S. senators to argue for preferential treatment from the regulators led to them being dubbed the Keating Five. When Lincoln failed in 1989, it cost the federal government over $3 billion and about 23,000 customers were left with worthless bonds. In the early 1990s, Keating was convicted in both federal and state courts of many counts of fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy. He
    6.00
    1 votes
    17

    John Rigas

    John J. Rigas (born November 14, 1924 in Wellsville, New York) is one of the founders of Adelphia Communications Corporation, which at its peak was one of the largest cable TV companies in the United States. He was also the majority owner of the Buffalo Sabres franchise of the National Hockey League. In 2005, he was convicted on multiple charges of fraud and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Born in Wellsville, New York, to Greek immigrants James and Eleni Rigas who sought a better life in the U.S. for their children, John had three siblings: Gus, Mary and Katherine. His first job was, at the age of nine, busing tables. After graduating from Wellsville High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was placed in an armored infantry division in 1943 and he saw combat in France. After the war ended, he returned to life in Wellsville and soon afterward enrolled at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He studied engineering and earned a bachelor of science degree in management engineering. He was also a member of the Nu Theta Chapter of Phi Mu Delta. He then returned to Wellsville, only to take a job with the Sylvania corporation in Emporium, Pennsylvania. In 1951 Rigas
    6.00
    1 votes
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