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10 Millionaires Who Lost It All

Updated on March 29, 2016
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10) Mike Tyson

Over a career spanning 20 years, celebrity boxer Mike Tyson accumulated a fortune of over $400 million. The champion lived a life of luxury, spending over $4.5 million on cars and motorcycles alone. Other extravagant purchases included two white Bengal tigers, costing $140,000 each, and a bathtub costing $2 million. His spending caught up with him however, and in 2003 he filed for bankruptcy, claiming he had $27 million worth of debts. He has since held entertainment boxing show tours and forged an acting career to help pay off his debts.

9) Al Goldstein

In the late 1960s, Al Goldstein founded SCREW, a highly explicit pornographic magazine. The venture turned into a multi-million dollar company, selling 143,000 copies a week, whilst at this peak Goldstein was worth $11 million in money and assets. However, with competition from Playboy and the emergence of internet porn, demand for SCREW started to fall. The company eventually folded in 2003. A year later, Goldstein was declared bankrupt and spent the rest of his days living in homeless shelters and working as a greeter in a New York deli.

8) Björgólfur Guðmundsson

Björgólfur Guðmundsson was the majority owner and chairman of Icelandic Bank Landsbanki, which in March 2008 made him the 2nd most wealthy person in Iceland, with a net worth of $1 billion. However, in December of that year, after the market crash caused a total collapse of the Icelandic banking system, Forbes revalued his worth at $0. Landsbanki was eventually taken over by the government and Guðmundsson held over $700 million in debt. Luckily, he doesn’t have to live an impoverished life, as his son Thor Guðmundsson,

worth $2bn, is Iceland’s wealthiest person.

7) Marion Jones

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, track athlete Marion Jones took home 3 gold and 2 bronze medals, making her an American sports icon. She subsequently made million of dollars in endorsement deals from sports brands like Gatorade and Nike. However, in 2007 after intense investigation, she confessed to using performance-enhancing steroids. She was stripped of both her medals and sponsorship deals, and was then forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. After landing 6 months in prison for her drug offenses, and with no sporting career left, she filed for bankruptcy with just $2000 to her name.

6) Michael Carroll

At just 19 years old, Michael Carroll from Norfolk, England, won the top prize in the lottery, picking up over $13 million. Instead of saving and investing his new found wealth, the teenager spent his money on parties, drugs, prostitutes, and even built a demolition derby racetrack in the backyard of his newly bought mansion. Just four years after he’d won the jackpot he’d spent it all, and now works in a biscuit factory, packaging shortbread on minimum wage.

5) Seán Quinn

In 1973 Seán Quinn founded the QUINN group, which started as a small quarrying family business and grew into a manufacturing empire. By 2008 Quinn was named the wealthiest man in Ireland, with a staggering estimated worth of $6 billion. He invested in one of Ireland’s largest banks, Anglo Irish Bank, and built up a 25% stake. However, the Irish Bank collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis, which wiped out Quinn’s investment, riddling him with debt. By 2012 Quinn had filed for bankruptcy and, to this day, his family continue to fight in court against paying back $2.5 billion worth of loans.

4) Johnny Unitas

Johnny Unitas was one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL in the 70s, earning $1.3 million in today’s money. He invested his fortune in a series of restaurants, real estate ventures, and borrowed millions of dollars from the city of Baltimore to buy a circuit board manufacturer. Unfortunately, every single business he invested in failed, and Unitas declared bankruptcy in 1991, owing as much as $3.2 million. His financial difficulties continued up until his death, resulting in the Maryland taxpayers having to foot the bill.

3) Jordan Belfort

Stockbroker Jordan Belfort founded Stratton Oakmont in 1989, a trading floor that used an illegal pump and dump technique to gain massive profit on penny stocks. His company boomed, and by the age of 25 he was worth $85 million. He spent his fortune on super cars, yachts, and drug-fueled parties in his mansions. However, in 1995 authorities shut the company down for illegal trading and Belfort was sentenced to 4 years in prison for money laundering and fined $110.4 million that he had fraudulently taken from investors.

2) Allen Stanford

In 2008 Allen Stanford was named one of the richest men in America, with a net worth of $2.2 billion. As the chairman of the Stanford Financial Group, he spent over $100 million on planes and helicopters, as well an excessive $12 million just to lengthen his yacht by just 1.8 meters. One year later though, authorities discovered that his company was operating under a massive Ponzi scheme, scamming over 20,000 investors by selling over $7 billion worth of fraudulent certificates of deposit. Stanford lost his entire fortune and is currently serving a 110-year prison sentence.

1) Eike Batista

From the 1980s, Eike Batista built a commodity empire, which by 2012 made him the 7th richest man in the world, with $30 billion to his name. Soon after gaining this title, however, oil production slowed and decreased investor confidence, which resulted in rising debt payments and falling stock prices. By July 2013, Batista’s fortune plummeted to $200m and just five months later he filed for bankruptcy with a net worth of minus $1 billion.

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