Back in 1864, Credit Mobilier was a construction company started by executives of Union Pacific Railroad. They then had Union Pacific make contracts with Credit Mobilier to build railroads at inflated prices. These payments would in turn go to buy Union Pacific stock at par value and sell them at market value, generating huge profits to the tune of over $43 million.
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There has been a rash of corporate scandals and greed over the past decade, but it is hardly new. Here are a few financial scandals that made news long before Enron and Worldcom.