John Rigas, Adelphia
Hiding a whopping $2.3 billion in debt isn’t easy as John Rigas found out when he tried to do just that for Adelphia, his family-owned cable business that was starting to make a name for itself as a telecom carrier when he was charged in 2002 with felony fraud and conspiracy. Not only was he found guilty, but so was his son, Timothy, who served as the company’s CFO. The father got 15 years; the son, 20. The elder Rigas was 80 when he started serving his term in a North Carolina federal prison, and a federal judge cut three years off the term. Adelphia went bankrupt.