The stock market is getting a lot of attention today with the recent backlash and protests on Wall Street. The negative sentiments further fuel assumptions of brokers scamming and engaging in unethical practices.
While the stock market has undoubtedly had its share of horror stories, the investment opportunities it presents are still legitimate. The only question is, which ones? To prevent losing out on your hard earned money, it pays to do your own research and take the time to understand the basics of how you can avoid getting hoodwinked by unscrupulous investment scams. To do this you also need to look at a few of the stock market’s most successful swindlers to help you weed out the bad ones from the good.
1. ZZZZ Best Inc.
In 1986, Barry Minkow’s ZZZZ Best Inc. went public, and overnight, Minkow and his group of associates became instant millionaires. In a span of one year, Minkow’s total market value reached a staggering $200 million. With the unprecedented success of his company, Minkow went from one television show to another and was hailed as one of America’s brightest minds. But barely two years from his Oprah Winfrey show appearance, Barry Minkow’s true colors were soon exposed and he was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
What Went Wrong?
After a much publicized trial, Minkow and his associates were revealed as con artists who had bilked their investors and creditors to the tune of $100 million. What Minkow created was a carefully thought out scheme of a corporation that does not truly exist and was only built of forgery, swindling and theft.
2. Centennial Technologies Inc.
There was a time when Centennial Technologies Inc. was regarded as one of the strongest players on Wall Street with stocks shooting up very quickly in 1994. In 1996, Emmanuel Pinez and his company recorded an astounding $2 million dollar net profit from PC memory cards which allowed their company to dominate the New York Stock Exchange with an unparalleled 451% growth.
What Went Wrong?
The success of Centennial Technologies Inc. was however cut short when news broke out that they were inflating their profit by up to $22.6 million and deflating their inventories by as much as $7.7 million in a span of one year alone. As a result, more than 20,000 investors were left grasping at straws to recover and were ripped off from their hard earned money.
There was once a time when Enron was hailed as America’s seventh largest company and was the epitome of hard work and success. Enron, a Houston based energy trading company, was formed in 1985 and in just 15 years, became the king of the New York Stock Exchange, earning more than $85 per share. But by 2001, Enron was disclosing a net loss of more than $600 million along with a reduction of $1.2 billion in shareholder’s stocks.
What Went Wrong?
Unbeknown to many, the people behind Enron were true masters of accounting manipulation and practices that allowed them to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in debts, which is why, for more than a decade, Enron was thought to be one of the strongest companies in the US. The intricate scam that played out at Enron included shady deals, baseless profits and concealed debts. After their fall from grace, Enron soon declared bankruptcy in December 2001.
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