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2. Angelo Mozilo

Meet the man who made subprime a household word. Once a symbol of self-made accomplishment—a butcher’s son who built the largest mortgage lender in the country—Mozilo became blinded by success and began going after the riskiest and most unsavory of borrowers to boost his company’s market share. In doing so, he legitimized a sector that would ultimately bring down the economy.

THE STAT: Mozilo’s once-secret, now-infamous “Friends of Angelo” program provided loans on favorable terms to politically influential borrowers, including Senators Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd.

By Portfolio.com