The Biggest Billionaire Blowups In 2022: From Sam Bankman-Fried To Kanye West | Forbes

The world watched in shock last week as the floor fell out from under Sam Bankman-Fried. Over the course of just a few days, the 30-year-old founder and former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX went from one of the 50 richest people in America and one of crypto’s most influential figures to the poster boy of the biggest crypto collapse to date.

While the fallout from FTX’s implosion is still being uncovered, one thing is clear: Few other billionaires have fallen as far and as fast as Bankman-Fried. Among those who lost nearly their entire fortunes within the course of just a few days or weeks are investor Adolf Merckle, once one of Germany’s richest people who was wrecked by the 2008 financial crisis, and Kanye West, whose antisemitism proved his undoing.

Two superrich tycoons who never made the Forbes billionaires list but also had massive blowups: Bernie Madoff (d. 2021), the infamous fraudster who ran the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, and Archegos Capital Management’s Bill Hwang, whose investment firm collapsed almost overnight last year leading to an estimated $10 billion in losses for some of the world’s biggest banks.

Over the past 20 years, other fortunes have imploded for a wide variety of reasons including fraud and deceit. Many of these blowups have led to lawsuits and even jail time. That includes Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of now-defunct blood testing firm Theranos, who was sentenced on Friday to more than 11 years in prison for defrauding investors. Three others are now behind bars while one is on house arrest and another is awaiting trial.

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