Park's seven predecessors had all been embroiled in some form of corruption scandal.
The Seoul Central District Court found Lee guilty of providing bribes worth millions of dollars to Choi Soon Sil, a childhood friend and confidante of ousted president Park Geun-hye.
"Mom did everything and I didn't know anything," Chung Yoo-ra, 20, said in January.
According to polls, liberal Moon Jae-in is likely to sweep to victory.
Park was arrested over allegations that she colluded with a friend to pressure big businesses to contribute to now-defunct foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.
The prosecutors argue that evidence like computer hard drives might be destroyed if Park is not arrested.
Families have called for the ship to be raised and for a more thorough investigation into the disaster.
Prosecutors questioned Park as a criminal suspect for the first time since the Constitutional Court on March 10 upheld her December impeachment by parliament.
The ousted leader's "first dogs" were popular on her social media but did not follow her to her new home.
The Constitutional Court dismissed Park from office on Friday when it upheld a parliamentary impeachment vote over an influence-peddling scandal.
The U.S. started deploying its advanced anti-missile defense system in South Korea on Tuesday in response to North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear tests.
Park was impeached over a graft scandal involving South Korea's conglomerates.
Park becomes South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.
If the court upholds parliament's Dec. 9 vote to impeach Park over an influence-peddling scandal, she will be the country's first democratically elected leader to be forced from power.
Jay Y. Lee is accused of paying bribes totaling 43 billion won ($36.42 million).
Samsung's Jay Y. Lee is implicated in a sprawling corruption investigation that has led to the impeachment of the president.
South Korea's president could be the country's first democratically elected leader to be forced to leave office early.
Hundreds of thousands continue to crowd the streets, calling for the immediate resignation of leader ensnared in corruption scandal.
He said, if elected, he would visit rival North Korea before making a trip to South Korea's main ally, the United States.