The Forbes 30 Under 30 lists celebrate the achievements of young people making a mark in a range of sectors. Unfortunately, quite a few of the picks are now a little questionable, to say the least.
It’s even become something of a meme, with users on X joking about federal authorities investigating those on the list.
Announcing this year’s lists on Tuesday, Forbes acknowledged there were some picks “we wish we could take back.”
Its “Hall of Shame” starts — appropriately enough — with Sam Bankman-Fried, the FTX cofounder who was on the 30 Under 30 finance list in 2021.
Forbes had estimated the then-29-year-old’s net worth at more than $26 billion — only Mark Zuckerberg had made as much money that young. That was until a CoinDesk report last year showed how FTX had overly close ties with its sister trading firm, Alameda.
Days later, FTX filed for bankruptcy. Prosecutors said that Bankman-Fried and other executives had used customer funds for luxuries and property. Bankman-Fried was convicted on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy earlier this month.
The former co-CEO of Alameda, Caroline Ellison, testified against him after pleading guilty to seven offenses. She was on the Forbes finance class in 2022 — and is also in the Hall of Shame.
Martin Shkreli, aka the “pharma bro,” appeared on a 30 Under 30 list in 2013 — and reappears a decade later in the Forbes Hall of Shame. He achieved notoriety after hiking the price of a medication used to treat parasitic infections from $17.50 to $750.
In an unrelated case, he served four years in prison for misrepresenting financials and attempting to manipulate a stock.
The 2019 finance class included Charlie Javice, who founded a startup named Frank that supposedly helped college students get financial aid. It was sold to JP Morgan Chase for $175 million in 2021 after Frank claimed it had 4.25 million users, according to a lawsuit filed by the bank.
The Department of Justice said Javice defrauded JP Morgan because Frank actually had only about 250,000 users. She’s pleaded not guilty to charges including fraud and conspiracy.
Others listed in Forbes’ Hall of Shame include Nate Paul, a real-estate investor whose business was valued at about $1 billion before he was accused of lying to lenders and charged with fraud and conspiracy in June.
Lucas Duplan founded the fintech firm Clinkle, which raised $30 million in its seed round from the likes of Peter Thiel and Andreessen Horowitz — before everything blew up, as Business Insider reported back in 2014. Its much-hyped plan for mobile payments never produced a viable product, employees quit, and investors demanded their money back.
Outside the 30 Under 30 finance class, the gun-rights activist Cody Wilson also makes the Hall of Shame. While a law student, he became famous for posting blueprints online that allowed anyone to 3D print a working gun. In 2019, he was required to register as a sex offender after paying $500 to have sex with a 16-year-old girl.
And there’s Steph Korey, the cofounder of Away, a luggage company. She made the 2018 retail and e-commerce list before The Verge reported she bullied coworkers and implemented a harsh workload, prompting her resignation.
The final two in Forbes’ Hall of Shame are both media types.
James O’Keefe, the founder of the conservative Project Veritas, was ousted in February after 13 years in charge, accused of misusing donor funds for purposes such as private-jet flights.
And there’s Phadria Prendergast, the editor in chief of Women Of The City Magazine, who made the 2023 list. It was a Forbes investigation, ironically, that said she was involved in a “pay-to-play operation where cash bought coverage” — allegations she’s denied. – Business Insider