Stepping into the limelight as the next up-and-coming billionaire brings a lavish lifestyle and a lot of media attention. But is being called the next Warren Buffett or Bill Gates a compliment or something else? Some wonder if being compared to the Oracle of Omaha in print is a curse, similar to the Sports Illustrated cover jinx or Madden curse in sports. Here are the hyped-up billionaires that went bust in this week’s Five for Friday.
#5: Sam Bankman-Fried
Just a few months ago, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was getting mountains of attention. He had an estimated net worth of $16 billion and Fortune ran a cover story pondering whether he was the next Warren Buffett. Mere months later, FTX is bankrupt and under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice while Bankman-Fried has lost it all.
#4: Allen Stanford
Financier Allen Stanford was once worth over $2 billion before being taken down by the federal government in 2009 for operating a $7 billion ponzi scheme over two decades. Stanford is now serving 110 years in prison and is worth nothing. Recently, it came out that a court-appointed receiver has been able to recoup $1 billion for victims of Stanford’s fraud.
#3: Maurice “Hank” Greenberg
Hank Greenberg once touted a net worth of more than $3 billion by running the world’s largest insurance company, AIG. Greenberg did so well for himself the New York Times published a piece in 2000 saying Greenberg was a better bet than Buffett. But Greenberg was forced out of the company he nourished five years later over an investigation into a creative accounting scheme that padded AIG’s earnings, misleading investors and government regulators. The 97-year-old businessman is in the midst of a comeback as the CEO of Starr Insurance Companies.
#2: Eddie Lampert
Businessweek called Eddie Lampert the next Buffet in 2004 for saving KMart stores after bankruptcy. Two years later, his net worth was listed at $3.8 billion. Lampert attempted to strike it big again, this time with Sears, where he served as CEO for five years until the company filed for bankruptcy. His hedge fund ESL Investments ended up winning a bankruptcy auction to become the owner of the former retail heavyweight. But he was quickly sued for ransacking the company’s assets prior to bankruptcy. Sears scored a $175 million settlement from Lampert and company this year. Today, Sears only has a handful of stores throughout the U.S. and Lampert’s net worth is down to around $1 billion.
#1: Elizabeth Holmes
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes topped Forbes’ list of “Richest Self-Made Women” in 2015 with a net worth of $4.5 billion. The company made claims it could do hundreds of medical tests with a single drop of blood. Holmes was even featured in an Inc. Magazine cover story calling her the next Steve Jobs. In the end, the Theranos claims were bogus, Holmes’ net worth vanished and she’s now facing an 11-year prison sentence for defrauding investors in the scheme.