9. The Hunt Brothers
More than $1 billion
Nelson and William Hunt were already billionaires when they tried to corner the global silver market in the late 1970s. Working with several Saudi Arabian business partners, the brothers bought up huge quantities of the commodity while simultaneously establishing a huge long position in silver futures, sending prices soaring. But when Comex put silver trading on liquidation only, silver prices went into a steep fall on “Silver Thursday,” and the brothers were unable to meet their $100 million margin call.
The Hunt brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1988, unable to bear the cost of the legal battles related to their silver scheme. They also paid more than $10 million in separate settlements with the Internal Revenue Service and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).