Billionaire Raj Rajaratnam was convicted today of 14 counts of security fraud and conspiracy and faces over a lifetime in jail.
Rajaratnam won’t be sentenced until July 29.
During this time he will be electronically monitored to make sure he doesn’t leave the country.
But if he does find his way onto a jet bound for Geneva, he won’t be the first super rich guy to do it.
Crime: Statutory rape
Evasion: Being a fugitive from the law could be a lot more painful than it was for Roman Polanski. The Hollywood director spent 31 years abroad, on the run after pleading guilty to charges related to his having sex with a 13-year-old in California. Over three decades, Polanski lived a life of luxury, skipping between villas in Switzerland (pictured), France, and other countries with tenuous extradition rules, meanwhile directing a slew of films and winning an Oscar for Best Director in 2002.
But celebrity and old age were no shield when -- yielding to continuous U.S. pressure -- Swiss police suddenly arrested the director while en route to a lifetime achievement award in Zurich. Polanski is currently in a Swiss jail, hoping for a shot at bail.
Evasion: Following a $533,500 judgment for fraudulent transactions as a wealth manager, Marcus Schrenker did what any millionaire hotshot with a bunch of personal luxury vehicles would do. He hopped on his private plane and flew in a south-easterly direction, then faked a distress call, set the plane on auto-pilot, and parachuted into a swamp. Approaching local police incognito and dripping wet, he claimed to have been in a canoeing accident. After being taken to a hotel, he fled into the woods on foot and, two days later, picked up his motorcycle from storage and kept going for another few hours, before getting nabbed at a Florida campground. From crimes incurred during the plane crash and manhunt, Schrenker earned an additional four years in prison, according to AOL News.
Evasion: With a sudden flight to Spain in 1991, Christopher Skase escaped criminal charges and debt relating to the crash of his corporate empire. The notorious Australian passed his twilight years at a villa in Majorca, with his wife and family and -- reportedly -- servants and sunbathing topless women.
Australians were particularly outraged by Skase's repeated claim that he was too sick to travel back to Australia -- which was refuted by paparazzi photos of him enjoying tennis and other recreation. The popular idea of kidnapping the old man was only realised in a 2001 comedy, Let's Get Skase (pictured; Skase's character in front).
Crime: Fraud and profiteering
Evasion: A legend among bail-jumpers, Robert Vesco was charged in 1972 for misappropriating more than $224 million, and quickly got on a plane to the Bahamas. The self-made millionaire eluded capture thanks to extradition law and various disguises. Americans were insulted further when it was revealed that he had donated $200,000 to the Nixon campaign and befriended the president's nephew -- in a supposed effort to squash the federal investigation. Meanwhile, Vesco continued to scheme, profit, and offend the authorities of wherever he was until his death in 2008, according to his obituary in The New York Times.
Crime: Tax evasion
Evasion: Marc Rich enjoyed the American dream, and then the Swiss dream. First, the Belgian immigrant married an heiress. Second, he made huge profits through trading oil with Iraq, Iran, and other hostile regimes. Third, he cheated on his taxes. Fourth, he fled to Switzerland in 1983 and began a sumptious life of skiing, art collecting, and trips to his vacation mansion in Spain.
But in what could be the most galling use of wealth to avoid justice, large campaign donations by Rich's wife to the Democratic Party may have led -- many speculated -- to a full, and very controversial, pardon granted by President Clinton in 2001.
Evasion: If you think Gucci knock-offs are hard to spot, try identifying counterfeit industrial adhesive. But U.S. prosecutors are convinced that Yuan Hongwei ripped off products and trademarks -- including the name ARBO Industries -- from an Indiana-based company. However, catching him has proven even more difficult. The counterfeit CEO was arrested at an airport in London in 2008, but then, after posting $200,000 bail, and despite surrendering two passports, he somehow escaped to China. Hongwei presumably will remain in China, where he has become a folk hero and continues to manufacture industrial adhesive, according to TIME.
Evasion: Norman Y. Hsu accomplished the incredible feat of jumping bail while becoming a high profile fundraiser for the Democratic Party. After pleading 'no contest' to one count of felony grand theft in 1992, the apparel magnate fled to Hong Kong. When he returned to California several years later, he had dropped the middle initial from his name and somehow attracted no attention from U.S. prosecutors.
The new Norman Hsu made a career of fundraising for John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and others -- out of which he developed a new Ponzi scheme. Hsu's past and present crimes caught up to him in 2007, when he was arrested for large-scale fraud and jumping bail. Unbelievably, Hsu posted a $2 million bail and fled again. This time he was caught before leaving the country, according to The New York Times.
Evasion: When Rakesh Saxena was accused in 1996 of embezzling billions of dollars from a failing Bangkok bank, he promptly booked it to Canada. Attempts to extradite the banker produced 13 years of trials and appeals, the longest legal battle in Canadian history. For much of this time, Saxena was out on bail and free to enjoy his fortune. The case ended last month when the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the ailing Saxena could be sent back to Thailand, where he now faces trial, according to the Bangkok Post.
Evasion: Abdel-Karin Serhani, a 26-year-old Frenchman, has enraged police and luxury hotel owners around the world through various cons, including his great impersonation of a prodigal Saudi prince. 'His Royal Highness Prince Serhani' hit a slew of hotels, running up $20,000 bills on Dom Perignon and rented Ferraris, before slipping out without paying a thing. When police finally caught up with him this year in Australia, Serhani was released on bail with an order to appear in court in July.
And then he was off again: on a yacht to Bali, stealing $1,000 from the skipper on the way, and to another luxury hotel, where he filmed a video of himself taunting the police to 'catch me if you can,' according to the Daily Mail.
Crime: Murder, drug traficking, etc.
Evasion: Fat Tony Mokbel, an Australian who looks and acts like Tony Soprano, was not about to wait around for his trial. While out on bail in 2006, the gangster secretly purchased a luxury yacht, to which he made extensive modifications for security, long-distance travel, and his own concealment. He also recruited a crew of Greek sailors. And then it was off to the Mediterranean, where he took refuge in Greece and Lebanon.
Like other rich fugitives, Mokbel was soon involved in a legal battle to avoid extradition. But the Australian police wouldn't wait, and they nabbed him in May 2008 from a seaside cafe in Greece, where he wore an Armani wig as part of a flimsy disguise, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
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