The 20 Most Secretly Brilliant Stupid Criminals

#8. The Idiot Defense

The Crime:

Richard M. Scrushy, the founder of healthcare service provider HealthSouth, was charged with violations of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, which in essence punishes corporations for routinely dicking over their investors a la Enron. Five of HealthSouth's chief financial officers plead guilty to fraud charges, and in turn pointed the finger at Scrushy as the ringleader of the firm's unethical skullduggery.

Also: Weird, right?

But during his trial, a portrait began to emerge of someone who wasn't capable of leading a ring of children playing duck-duck-goose without consulting a manual. According to eye witness testimony, he was a terrible CEO whose attention was diverted from important matters (accounts, shareholders, human resources) so that he could be free to focus on the more important aspects of high-level management (golfing, sleeping on huge piles of money).

So not only was the guy going away for all that white collar crime he was on trial for -- if he ever got out, it was now a matter of record that he was the worst CEO ever.

The Secretly Genius:

Scrushy was found not guilty on the grounds that no one could prove he was aware of the wrong doing ... in his own company. Apparently, Lady Justice is blind to race, religion, age and sexual orientation when deciding a person's guilt or innocence, but all bets are off if they're willing to act like a complete moron in open court.

It was mostly defense testimony that painted him as an idiot. They essentially had Scrushy walk into the courtroom like Ricky Ricardo, throw up his hands and exclaim, "WHAT HAPPENED?" as if he had just come home from the Babalu show to find that Lucy had zanily embezzled millions of dollars from company shareholders.

"Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to- IS THAT EIGHT MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS??"

That wasn't enough to fool a later judge, however, when a lot of the screwed shareholders sued Scrushy and won $2.9 billion, a sum Scrushy said he would be happy to pay because, "I have a lot of extra money, from all that fraud."

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