If you have an employer and at some point in your golden career “misplace” or “reallocate” funds that wind up in a bank account with your name on it, then congratulations: you’re guilty of embezzlement! Most companies constantly audit the books, so it’s not exactly easy to get away with the crime of embezzlement. Naturally, this hasn’t stopped anyone from trying. Here are five of the most notorious embezzlement cases in U.S. history!
- If you don’t get along with your family, then you’re not alone. Dane Cook is right there with you. In 2010, his half-brother was found guilty of embezzling millions of dollars. The guy didn’t really do much to cover his tracks–he forged Cook’s signature after making a check out to himself for three million bucks! The half-brother was sentenced for up to six years in prison.
- If you plan to steal, at least try not to steal from girl scouts. Life on earth reached a new low point when in 2011 Christa Utt was charged with embezzling thousands from the organization. Utt was a troop leader, but that didn’t stop her from committing the crime. Sadly, she wasn’t the first one to try. In 2009, Janet Daily and Laura Farrell stole over $20,000 in separate cases.
- Remember the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme in 2008? He stole from investors, and paid them back–or didn’t–with the money gained from newer investors (which is how a typical Ponzi scheme works). As a result, some people lost their life savings and associated stocks plummeted. The missing funds amounted to at least a whopping $18 billion. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. He’s famous, so he’ll probably get out.
- If you have a gambling problem, it doesn’t matter how rich you are. Ausaf Umar Siddiqui came up with an embezzlement scheme to pay off gambling debts, but ended up sentenced to six years in prison instead. He had previously established a fake company in order to funnel monies that ran over $80 million from Fry’s Electronics, where he worked as vice president of operations and merchandising.
- Kenneth Lay died before a judge could sentence him up to 45 years in prison. He was the CEO of Enron and embezzled nearly $11 billion from his shareholders. Enron went on to file for bankruptcy.