Whitaker Wright was convicted of fraud through the London and Globe Company in 1904, but not before amassing a wealth great enough for a 32-room mansion estate.
What began as a dubious but not particularly criminal stock-and-bonds operation grew to full-scale swindling when Wright, attempting to float a bond issue for the building of the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway, found himself financially collapsing.
Determined to maintain the image of success, Wright began pushing around a series of "loans" between his companies to misrepresent himself on the balance sheets.
Once convicted of fraud, Wright was sentenced to just seven years in prison. Whitaker Wright never served a day, though-- he had come to the trial armed with a cyanide pill and a revolver for backup. He ended his life in the courtroom just after sentencing.
Whitaker Wright's sprawling estate contained three artificial lakes and 9,000 acres of manicured landscape.
But the most famous part of the Wright estate was the underground conservatory and ballroom with aquarium windows.
The mansion was destroyed by a fire in 1952, and, while new houses have been built on the lot, some of the landscape and the famed ballroom are reminders of the property's storied past.
Credit: Atlas Obscura