Archegos Founder Bill Hwang Convicted of Fraud, Faces 20 Years

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Archegos Capital Management founder Sung Kook “Bill” Hwang was convicted of fraud and other charges on Wednesday during a criminal trial in New York, in the aftermath of the 2021 collapse of his $36 billion private investment firm. Each charge against Hwang, who had pleaded not guilty, carries a potential penalty of 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to orchestrating the largest-known Ponzi scheme in history, estimated at as much as $64.8 billion. For decades, Madoff portrayed himself as a successful and trusted Wall Street figure, attracting high-profile and celebrity investors while secretly engaging in fraud. Madoff died at age 82 in 2021, serving a 150-year prison sentence. “Bernie, up until his death, lived with guilt and remorse for his crimes,” said Madoff’s lawyer Brandon Sample in a statement upon his client’s death.

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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced in March to 25 years in prison for stealing $8 billion from customers of his cryptocurrency exchange, marking a dramatic downfall for the former billionaire wunderkind. Prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried of old-fashioned financial fraud, despite FTX’s non-traditional Wall Street operations, charging him with misuse of customer assets to purchase luxury properties, support his hedge fund, and make political donations. Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty, with his lawyers arguing that he had overlooked risk management but did not steal customer money. He appealed his conviction and prison sentence in April.

Jordan Belfort, who led a hedonistic lifestyle before being arrested, defrauded investors out of as much as $200 million via his brokerage Stratton Oakmont. Belfort pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering in 1999 and served 22 months in prison. He is now a motivational speaker, media commentator, and offers sales consulting services. Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” inspired by Belfort’s memoir and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, delved into Belfort’s descent. “The best lesson of everything about my story… is that it sort of represents the best of what you can do with the gifts that gods give you, and also the worst you can do, also with the frailties that gods give you,” Belfort told Reuters in 2011.

Ivan Boesky, who helped inspire the greedy Gordon Gekko character in the 1987 movie “Wall Street,” spent nearly two years in prison for his role in one of the 1980s most significant insider trading scandals. Known as “Ivan the Terrible,” Boesky amassed wealth speculating in takeover stocks and obtained tips from investment bankers about deals in progress, utilizing them illegally. Boesky pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in 1987 and cooperated with prosecutors, ensuring leniency in his sentencing. Boesky died in May at age 87.

Michael Milken, known as the king of junk bonds, received a 10-year prison sentence in 1990 after pleading guilty to securities violations, including his activities with Boesky. Milken spent less than two years behind bars after a federal judge reduced his sentence for cooperating with authorities. In 1991, Milken co-founded the non-profit Milken Institute, focusing on research areas such as cancer, public health, and aging. Milken survived advanced prostate cancer and continued to draw finance titans to the Milken Institute Global Conference. Former U.S. President Donald Trump pardoned Milken in 2020.

Raj Rajaratnam, founder of New York-based Galleon Group, was convicted in 2011 of securities fraud and conspiracy during a U.S. government crackdown on insider trading. Prosecutors claimed Rajaratnam made up to $63.8 million in illegal profits from 2003 to 2009 by trading stocks, including eBay and Google. At the time of his sentencing, his net worth exceeded $1 billion. Rajaratnam was released from prison in 2019 and expressed hopes for a Wall Street comeback in a 2022 Bloomberg interview, maintaining his innocence.