15 Rich Billionaires Who Lost Their Entire Fortunes

It does not matter if you’re a billionaire in today’s world, bankruptcy can be around the corner! Today Vidello Productions is taking a look at 15 Rich Billionaires Who Lost Their Wealth…


15 – Patricia Kluge

Kluge was born in Baghdad and moved to the USA where she married billionaire John Kluge and they stayed together for 9 years.

She stayed in Central Virginia after the divorce where she founded the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard with third husband William Moses in 1999.

She also owned a convenience store/petrol station at the corner of 9th Street and Market Street in Charlottesville.

Both the store and the Winery were later sold, with the later being purchased by Real Estate Magnate Donald Trump.

She attempted to sell all her fine jewellery and artwork but this did not save her finances and Kluge later filed for bankruptcy, losing over $2B dollars and moving on to New York City where she is attempting to try her hand at jewellery design.


14 – Alberto Vilar

Former U.S. based investment banker Alberto Vilar once owned a company called company Amerindo Investment Advisors and made billions of dollars!

Then in the year 2000, a violent sell-off hit himself and his companies fortunes in a big way.

In a scene straight out of the wolf of wall street, Vilar was arrested on charges of securities fraud in 2005 served a 10-year prison sentence.

He was convicted of money laundering, wire fraud, and stock fraud and was handed the higher sentence after the judge deemed he had tried to prevent victims from being repaid.

Two of those victims have died while waiting to be re-paid and Vilar is now out of jail.


13 – Vijay Mallya

Known for his high flying lifestyle and extravagant parties, prominent liquor tycoon and airline manager Vijay Mallya is now bankrupt.

It’s reported that he began building up numerous debts to several banks in an effort to keep his airline business, Kingfisher Airlines, afloat.

He fled to the United Kingdom through a diplomatic VISA and is currently thought to owe around $1.3 billion dollars to the banks, who are trying to extradite him.


12 – Eike Batista

Eike Batista is a Brazilian serial entrepreneur and former billionaire who made and lost a fortune in mining and oil and gas industries.

Chairman of Brazilian conglomerate EBX Group, he once had access to a fortune estimated at over $20 billion dollars thanks to his eight gold mines in Brazil and Canada and a silver mine in Chile.

He was involved with an attempt to promote Brazil’s infrastructure with large-scale projects, however, the plans later led to the downfall of his companies.

He was later the subject of a $100 million money-laundering investigation and has now been convicted of bribing a former Rio de Janeiro governor and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.


11 – Sean Quinn

One one of the richest men in Ireland, Sean Quinn had his wealth in industries such as plastic, glass, and hotels.

When the housing crisis arrived, his 25% stake in Anglo Irish Bank was all but wiped out and the bank was later taken over by the government after bailing out homeowners.

It is currently estimated that he owes somewhere in the region of Two Billion Euro’s to the bank and has filed for bankruptcy with only $50,000 in assets.


10 – Aubrey McClendon

Once called America’s most Reckless Billionaire, Aubrey McClendon was one of the USA’s biggest landowners owning more than 100,000 acres.

He held investments in several food companies, particularly in Oaklahoma including Irma’s Burger Shack and Deep Fork Grill.
McClendon also ran a $200 million hedge fund, Heritage Management Company LLC, with Tom Ward.

He had a personal wine collection of almost 100,000 bottles and was related to Sports Illustrated supermodel Kate Upton.

After his indictment by a federal grand jury accusing him of violating antitrust laws from 2007 to 2012 while the CEO of Chesapeake Energy he was found dead in a car crash later deemed an accident.


9 – Jocelyn Wildenstein

The former wife of the late billionaire art dealer Alec Wildenstein, she was once worth several billion dollars and is now worth nothing.

Last seen surviving on $900 Social Security payments and assistance from her friends and family, Wildenstein was once the holder of around $2.5 billion dollars.

She is rumoured to have spent over $1 million a month on lavish purchases, $5000 dollars a month on a phone bill and revealed that two paintings in the settlement were worth nothing due to them being forgeries.

She is currently living in New York and looking for a lawyer to try and acquire the rest of her fortune.


8 – Adolf Merckle

Once worth $12.8 billion dollars and one of Germany’s five richest men, he has also listed as the worlds 36’th richest man.

The financial crisis took a hard toll on Merckle’s finances and his investment company, VEM, suffered a 75% share loss resulting in banks demanding further securities on loans.

He also lost several million dollars after making a speculative investment in Volkswagen shares that later failed and further led to a share price fall in VEM.

Adolf Merckle committed suicide on 5 January 2009 by throwing himself in front of a train near too his hometown, simply leaving a one-word note that said Sorry.


7 – Bernie Madoff

Life was not always such a downer for billionaire Bernard Madoff who started his Wall Street firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, in 1960.

He ran a Ponzi scheme that at one time made him around $65 billion dollars, however, things came to a head when all those investors wanted their money back… $7 billion dollars worth.

The Department of Justice put Madoff on trial for 11 counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury, and theft.

He is currently serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison and relinquished most of his assets in a deal with prosecutors.

His wife currently lives in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.


6 – Allen Stamford

Already mentioned in one of our previous videos, Allen Stamford was once a billionaire living the high life at parties and sporting events around the world.

Chairman of the now-defunct Stanford Financial Group of Companies, he was involved in a fraud estimated to be worth $7 billion dollars.

He made most of his money from real estate and the Texas oil boom in the 1980s and later started Guardian International Bank on the island of Montserrat in 1985.

Authorities found out that he had been running a massive Ponzi Scheme through Stamford Financial Group and his offices were raided by both the FBI and SEC.

Reports of bribery, money laundering and political manipulation were rife and he later voluntarily surrendered to authorities on June 18, 2009, and was found guilty on all charges resulting in a 110-year prison sentence.


5 – Elizabeth Holmes

Once a high profile star of Silicon Valley, this entrepreneur was said to be on the way to a fortune totalling $5 billion dollars.

She ran a blood-testing company that had already raised roughly $6 million dollars from investors, however, things quickly began to turn bad for this prospective billionaire.

Concerns with the Food and Drug Administration along with the loss of its two major partnerships led to the CMS concluding Theranos testing might pose a safety risk to patients.

Theranos closed its doors in September 2018 and both Elizabeth Holmes and her partner Sunny Balwani were charged with fraud by the justice department.

She currently lives in San Fransisco with her partner William “Billy” Evans, a 27-year-old heir to the Evans Hotel Group


4 – Huang Wenji

One of three Hong Kong Billionaires who lost their entire fortune, Huang Wenji had over $2.26 billion dollars worth of shares in China Jicheng Holdings, an umbrella making company.

A series of losses cascaded across a network of companies in one day and at the time he was left with just $115 million dollars in just one day.

Huang was listed as #178 on the Chinese Forbes rich list in 2016 and was #1468 on the world billionaires list in 2017.

The company was originally floated on the stock market, a move that, ultimately, in one day doomed the company.


3 – Björgólfur Gudmundsson

Another high profile billionaire on our list of failed money makers, Björgólfur Gudmundsson was once the second richest man in Iceland.

He was a major stakeholder in the Icelandic bank Landsbanki which went under in 2008 leaving the billionaire with nothing.

He originally made his fortune in the brewing industry and was also the proud owner of the UK football team West Ham.

Not only did he file for bankruptcy protection to cover his losses, but it also covered over $759 million dollars in debt.


2 – Ramesh Chandra

Another real estate tycoon fell foul to the housing market, his company, Unitech, was investigated amid allegations of mismanagement and the siphoning of funds.

It’s interesting to note that Ramesh Chandra actually went from a $10 billion dollar bank balance to a 3-year jail spell in just a couple of months… things really do work fast in India.


1 – Michael Pearson

Born in London, Ontario, Canada and starting at Valeant Pharmaceuticals as an outside consultant in 2007, Michael Pearson rose through the ranks and took over as CEO in 2015, with the company becoming worth $1 billion later that year.

However, drug prices began to rise under Pearson and things began to unravel very quickly.

When stocks fell 90% his personal fortune went from $1 billion to $175 million in less than 12 months and while he was not 100% bankrupt he certainly turned a few heads within the company.

Pearson is currently suing Valeant Pharmaceuticals for $32 million, as compensation for his alleged wrongful termination as Chief Executive and Chairman of the Board… I wonder why!


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