Biggest Showbiz Money Debacles


From Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme to Nicolas Cage's free-spending ways, financial calamity can strike even the rich and famous.

1. Bernie Madoff: His infamous 20-year, $50 billion Ponzi scheme is considered the largest financial fraud in history. Many Hollywood players took it on the chin in 2008, including The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick and her husband Kevin Bacon, director Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Animation mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and screenwriter Eric Roth. With Madoff still in jail, several victims recovered at least a small part of their lost investments.

2. Dana Giacchetto: The former business manager and Michael Ovitz buddy swindled millions of dollars in the late 1990s from his A-list clients, including Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz and, most notably, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. The stars terminated their professional relationship with Giacchetto after their money went missing and it was revealed that he was siphoning off more than $10 million of his clients' earnings.

3. Elton John: In 2002, the singer filed for bankruptcy protection after accruing debt at an astonishing rate of $2 million a month. John has owned seven houses around the world, including an English estate and West Hollywood's Sierra Towers, which he recently sold for $4.7 million. His massive art collection was seized at the time of his bankruptcy, and the BBC reported a credit-card bill of $400,000 a month. He had no trouble bouncing back, however, as he's reportedly worth $355 million as of April.

4. Nicolas Cage: The free-spending actor lost four homes to foreclosure (in Bel-Air, Las Vegas and two properties in New Orleans). He then sued his business manager for $20 million for allegedly leading him down a path to bankruptcy, but the rep responded by blaming Cage for ignoring his pleas to stop the "destructive spending" on 12 cars and a $1.6 million comics collection. The case settled.

5. Kim Basinger: In 1989, the Batman actress thought it would be a good idea to purchase the town of Braselton, Ga., for $20 million and turn it into a tourist attraction. It would have featured movie studios and a film festival -- that is, had those in Hollywood been interested in trekking across the country to visit. Five years later, she and her partners sold Braselton for $1 million and later declared bankruptcy.

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