Big bad Bernie is horrible, but compared to Marthe Hanau, also horrible, he's Dullsville United.
Who is Marthe Hanau, though? This is who:
She bought a newspaper, La Gazette du Franc, and turned it into a stock market tip sheet. She soon had hundreds of thousands of investors following her, and she boosted the stock of businesses which were often little more than bits of paper (like my business). She bribed and socialised - the archbishop of Paris was a client - and always travelled with a spare limousine, in case one broke down. She was arrested in december 1928, owing $25m.
So far so-so. But then she went on hunger strike, escaped down a literal rope made of bed sheets, was recaptured, tried in 1932, named politicians who had helped her. She spent less than a year in prison, bought another newspaper, published an article about dodgy financial dealings quoting police file about herself, refused to reveal how she had got it, and was imprisoned again.
She overdosed on sleeping pills in 1935.
Time, always good for something punchy, penportraited her as a 'bulbous, masculine woman of strong character', points out that the case put 'two editors, one duke and two counts into jail' and quotes her statement to the judges in court: 'I would be ashamed to make my living the way you do. Justice is rotten and when I am in the presence of its representatives it gives me the greatest pleasure to tell them so'.
(Yes, yes, still The Lords of Finance. I thought for a while it might be as good as Peacemakers, which is just about my all-time favourite book. I am edging that down towards it being merely brilliant. )