Phillip Bennett, the former CEO of Refco Inc. pleaded guilty today while crying… Refco was one of the world’s largest commodities brokerages, but it went down in flames a few weeks after going public in August 2005.

The reason? Management concealed the fact that a company controlled by Bennett owed Refco $430 million. The SEC says that Refco hid losses in the financial markets and made false filings from the late 1990s onward.

Bennett pleaded guilty to 20 charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and false SEC filings. He could get sentenced to 315 years in prison. Since he’s now 59 years old, analysts suspect he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison. And the government is taking $2.4 billion from him.

I’d cry too if I had to give up that much money and spend the rest of my life in prison. But if you do the crime, you do the time. And this seems to be a fraud scheme that went on for a long time and cost a lot of people a lot of money.

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