DEFINITION of Leprechaun Leader

A leprechaun leader is a slang term for a corporate manager or an executive who, like the fabled Irish elf, is a mischievous and elusive creature said to possess buried treasures of money and gold. Here, an executive or other corporate leader embezzles money from the firm he runs and then stashes the ill-gotten gains in offshore bank accounts in order to hide his crimes. Just like the fabled leprechaun of lore, the unscrupulous executive hides his "pot of gold" where it will not be found until he is caught (in this case by the police).

The term may also be spelled "Lepre-con" Leader to emphasize the illegal or unethical activities of the individual,

BREAKING DOWN Leprechaun Leader

According to Irish folklore, a leprechaun is typically a small-statured, bearded man who wears a green suit and green hat, who partakes in mischief including petty theft from local villagers. Yet, they are solitary and elusive sprites who avoid capture - and people seek to capture them since they are fabled to keep a pot of gold and treasure at the end of a rainbow. If captured by a person, the leprechaun is obliged to reveal the location of his treasure as well as provide wishes to the captor.  Thus, the location of hidden treasure is revealed only when the leprechaun is caught. In the case of a leprechaun leader, the "buried treasure" is not literally buried, but protected in an offshore account or other obscure financial vehicle.

Examples of leprechaun leaders have been the executives of Enron or of Worldcom, who famously stowed away millions of dollars of corporate funds until they were finally caught. The Enron and Worldcom cases showed how accounting scandals can rock Wall Street and how corporate leaders can hide financial crimes and staggering losses from shareholders and regulators. Other examples of leprechaun leaders may include the heads of illegal Ponzi schemes, who can walk away with millions or even billions of dollars of fraudulent gains, such as with the case of Bernie Madoff's fake investment company. Leprechaun (or Lepre-"con") leader has become a buzzword to describe such activities.