The Ultimate Famous Bad Investments Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Fluctuating stock markets and human nature make it easy for regular folks to lose money on investments all the time. Even the rich aren't immune. How does your investment record measure up? Take the Ultimate Famous Bad Investments Quiz to find out.

Which major league baseball player sank his fortune into The Players Club, a lifestyle and financial advice magazine geared toward helping professional athletes preserve their wealth?

Former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies star Lenny Dykstra struck out mightily in his attempt at publishing and filed for bankruptcy in 2009, citing more than $10 million in debts and less than $50,000 in assets.


What Hollywood movie holds the Guinness World Record for largest ever box office loss?

The husband and wife directing and acting team of Renny Harlin and Geena Davis delivered a spectacular financial failure with 1995's "Cutthroat Island," which cost more than $100 million to produce, promote and distribute but took in just $11 million at the box office.


Which muscled macho men were the original celebrity investors in Planet Hollywood, the theme restaurant chain that filed for bankruptcy twice?

While Arnold Schwarzenegger had severed his ties with Planet Hollywood by the year 2000, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone maintain their involvement with the chain, which now has fewer than 20 locations worldwide, down from more than 100 at its peak.


What American icon lost his substantial fortune -- and his wife's inheritance -- through his investment in the Paige Compositor, an automatic typesetting machine?

A surviving Paige Compositor, the invention that forced Mark Twain to leave his Hartford, Conn., home in 1891, has found its way back to that very same residence in the collection of the Mark Twain House & Museum. Twain famously observed that he'd learned two things from his disastrous investment experience: not to invest when you can't afford to, and not to invest when you can.


What notorious con man gave us the term for a type of investment fraud in which early investors are paid high rates of return from money contributed from later investors, with no actual business activity to generate revenue?

In the 1920s, Charles Ponzi inspired the term "Ponzi scheme," after taking millions of dollars from thousands of Boston investors with the promise of incredible returns on International Postal Reply coupons. Instead, he collected money from new investors to pay earlier ones without conducting any legitimate business.


Taking the Ponzi scheme to a whole new level, Bernie Madoff bilked thousands of high profile investors out of billions of dollars. Which celebrities were among the victims who lost significant portions of their savings to Madoff's fraudulent tactics?

Actor Kevin Bacon and his wife actress Kyra Sedgwick, and director Steven Spielberg were some of the better known investors to lose big when Bernie Madoff's scam unraveled in December 2008.


What TV host was caught at the center of a life insurance scam, purchasing two multi-million-dollar insurance policies, and then reselling them to disreputable brokers for far less than their actual value?

Larry King agreed to a settlement with insurance brokers Alan Meltzer and the Meltzer Group, Inc. after the brokers convinced him to enter into a questionable investment arrangement, and then paid him less than half the actual value of the policies.


Born in 1890, Victor Lustig is best known as the man who conned investors into purchasing what famous Parisian landmark?

In 1925, Lustig forged government credentials and invited several scrap metal dealers to a secret meeting, where he informed them that the city of Paris could no longer afford to maintain the Eiffel Tower. He convinced at least one to "purchase" the tower, which he could then resell at great profit. With his victim too embarrassed to come forward, Lustig repeated the scam on a new set of dealers; this time, his luck ran out and the fraud was exposed.


Towers not your thing? Perhaps I may interest you in a bridge in Brooklyn. What was the name of the con artist who convinced hundreds of tourists that they could make a huge return on investment by purchasing the rights to control access to the Brooklyn Bridge?

George C. Parker allegedly sold the Brooklyn Bridge twice a week for several years to unsuspecting tourists. He used forged documents and temporary offices to convince his marks, who sometimes went so far as to set up barriers on the bridge in an attempt to collect tolls.


What real estate mogul was sued by investors in 2009 after scrapping plans for an opulent resort on the U.S.-Mexican border?

After investing a combined $18 to $20 million in the Trump Ocean Resort Baja, which was scrapped with just $556,000 in remaining funds, 69 investors sued developer Donald Trump for fraud and negligence, among other charges.


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