CEOs That Have Been To Prison

canstockphoto5723664Reading about CEOs that have been to prison isn’t really shocking but we like reading about them anyway because, admit it or not, we take just a tiny delight in their downfall. And it makes us feel richer, too, comparably speaking.

The most famous incarcerated CEO is probably Martha Stewart, she of the perfect home and lifestyle that every woman hoped to achieve and master. Convicted of insider trading, fraud and perjury, Stewart began her sentence of five months in prison on October 8, 2004. After her sentence, Stewart made a successful comeback in her own television show, appeared in other shows, wrote a book and expanded her business. In 2015, her company was sold for a $353 million, much lower than its $2 billion value two years prior but not an amount to be sneezed at either. Here are more CEOs that have been to prison or are on their way there.

Karen Finley, former CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems

Redflex is the world’s biggest supplier of road safety cameras. Using the latest technologies for its products, it works with governments to develop and implement photo-enforcement for traffic violators. From 2003 to 2012, Redflex had a total of $124 million in contracts with the Chicago government. Finley, then a vice-president when the contract was awarded to them, became CEO for its US arm in 2007 and is responsible for the rapid increase of the company’s revenues.

In 2012, the Chicago Tribune revealed that Finley had bribed city officials with cash, sports tickets and trips with luxury hotel accommodations to win awards for the city’s multimillion red light camera contract. In August 2015, now ex-CEO Finley entered into a plea bargain agreement with the Chicago court after being charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, federal program bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery. She is set to be sentenced on November 10, 2016. She is facing a maximum of five years in jail, a $250,000 fine and mandatory restitution.

She also faces 33 months in a federal prison in Columbus, Ohio for similar offenses.

Gurbaksh Chahal, former CEO of Click Agents, Blue Lithium, Radium One and Gravity4

Silicon Valley serial CEO Gurbaksh Chahal founded and led four tech companies that catered to the advertising industry. He sold the first two for a total of $340 million and was booted out of the third by the board of directors after a girlfriend accused him of domestic violence in August 2013. Charged with 47 counts of felony based on video footage that showed him hitting the woman 117 times in a span of 30 minutes, he escaped with only two counts of misdemeanor. Chahal’s domestic violence lawyers argued that the video was illegally obtained and were able to downgrade the crimes to a misdemeanor. The mogul avoided a jail sentence and was merely put on probation.

The complacent Chahal created his fourth company and soon thereafter violated his probation when he beat up another woman in 2014. In August 2016, three years after his first charge, he was sentenced to 12 months in a county jail but is still out pending an appeal by his lawyer. The company is now headed by his sister.

Federico Buenrostro, former CEO of CalPers

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is America’s largest government pension agency that manages the pension benefits of its more than 1.8 million retired, active and inactive public employees.

Its CEO, Federico Buenrostro, was found guilty of fraud and bribery on Sept. 27, 2016 and sentenced to 4 ½ years for accepting more than $200,000 and expensive gifts to influence CalPERS officers to favor an investment manager and associate of Buenrostro.

The sentencing capped seven years of investigation. Before this day in court, the ex-CEO was sent to jail during his probation period for a second domestic violence case.