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10 Biggest Scams Of The Century


Words like corporate fraud, unethical business scams, bribery, corruption, fraud do not surprise us anymore. We read and hear about such scams every other day.

In comparison, these frauds listed below include scams and frauds which shook the world, affecting the livelihood of innumerable people, punched holes through world’s economies and did all this in such a spectacularly corrupt manner that it shocked the world!!

1.The Enron Scam

The Enron Corp., one of the biggest energy trader and supplier company reached dramatic heights and later spiraled down to bankruptcy. As Enron corp. crumbled under its own weight, the price of its shares dropped $90.75 to $0.67 by January 2002. The shareholders lost nearly $11billion as this corporation filed for bankruptcy in December; 2001. It also led to the dissolution of one the five largest audit partnerships of that time-Arthur Andersen.


World.com, currently recognized as MCI was the second largest long-distance based phone company till it filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. World.Com scam gave the world a sharp jolt with its accounting scandal of about more than $3.8 billion. Thousands of workers and personnel were laid off and it was reorganized after paying around $750 million to the Securities and exchange Commission (SEC) as per Chapter 11 regulations.

3.Madoff $65billion scam

Bernard Madoff, a well-respected stock broker conned people out of $20 billion using a Ponzi scheme, which still remains to be one of the biggest Ponzi scam being pulled off as of today. His fraud is known to be of $65billion as company’s fake account statements proved so. Bernard was sentenced to 150 years federal prison while most of his shareholders still have not got their investment back.


Globally known as the “European Enron” sent shock waves across the globe as Parmalat, an Italian dairy and Food Corporation’s financial scandal came to light. The effects of these waves rippled through the people in the city of Pharma as their savings vanished due to this financial crisis. This major corporation collapsed overnight due to the $20billion hole in its account books.


One of the biggest financial setbacks, suffered by Indian Government because of the inadequate allocation of coal reserves amount public and private sector. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India estimated the initial loss of government to be around 10lakhs which later amounted to 1.76 crores.

6.Daewoo Group Scandal

One of the leading conglomerates of South Korea became dysfunctional following bankruptcy in 1999. In 1998 this group which dabbled in many sectors, in particular automobiles and suffered a financial crisis with a loss of $458 million. By the time of bankruptcy, this group was under a debt of $84.3billion.

7.Bank of Credit and Commercial Industrialization Fraud

BCCI was a multinational bank with major investors in Abu Dhabi, BCCI London and many countries thus connecting many international water financial. Its downfall thus had a lasting effect on the economy of many major countries of the world. Losses were roughly estimated to be around $15billion or 75% of the bank’s asset although exact number is still unknown.

8.Baring Bank scam

One of the most prestigious and oldest merchant banks in United Kingdom collapsed after the loss of around $1.3billion by Nick Leeson who was employed their Singapore office. Nick led to the dissolution of this bank by investing in unwise speculative investments and later hiding it from the auditors. He also placed trust in Singapore stockholding for the retrieval of the money which failed tremendously.

9.Jerome Kerviel

Société Générale, one of the largest banks of Europe made news when it recorded one of the biggest losses suffered in the financial industry. One of the record-making trading scam by their single trader ‘Jerome Kerviel’ resulted in a loss of more than $7billion. Jerome pulled it off under the pretense of fictitious transactions.

10.2G Spectrum Scam

The 2G scam topped all news bulletins in our country when it became the political scandal of the year implicating many leaders. It was a telecommunication scam in which the government officials had undercharged the amount for allocating frequency licenses. The difference between the money supposed to be collected and the actual collection calculated by CAG amounted to around $26 billion.

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