9 of the Wealthiest Criminals in History

Crime, Money

Growing up, we were always taught that crime doesn’t pay. If you were to say that to these 9 criminals, chances are they would laugh right in your face (before they went to jail or died, that is).

  1. Amado Carrillo Fuentes ($25 billion USD)—Amado Carrillo Fuentes led the Juárez Cartel, and was one of Mexico’s most powerful drug traffickers in history, with illegal activities generating tens of millions each week. He died in 1997 after a botched plastic surgery to change his appearance.
  2. Pablo Escobar ($9 billion USD)—Perhaps the most famous drug lord of all time, Pablo Escobar was the head of the Medellin Cartel. He was absolutely ruthless, killing anyone who dared challenge him. This included 30 judges, 400 police officers, and more. Escobar’s worth has been estimated at $9 billion, but seeing that he was in charge of a $30 billion a year drug trade, many believe it was far more.
  3. Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar ($6-$7 billion USD)—India’s most wanted man for his suspected involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings heads an organized crime group called D-Company. This criminal syndicate has about 5,000 members involved in extortion, smuggling, drugs, and killing. Ibrahim made the #50 spot in Forbes’ 2009 World’s Most Powerful People list.
  4. Semion Mogilevich (Billions)—Known as “The Billion Dollar Don”, Semion Mogilevich has been on the top 10 FBI’s Most Wanted List since 2003. He’s wanted for his participation in a scheme to defraud thousands of investors for $150 million, and he’s believed to be the “boss of bosses” of most Russian mafia syndicates.
  5. Carlos Lehder ($2.7 billion USD)—This Colombian drug dealer is currently imprisoned in the United States. He worked with the Medellin Cartel to fly drugs into the U.S. and other destinations. He was captured in Colombia and extradited to the United States in 1987. His sentence was life without parole plus 135 years.
  6. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera ($1 billion USD)—Just last year, Guzman Loera—a Mexican drug lord—made the list of Forbes richest people in the world. The self-made billionaire was ranked 701st on Forbes’ billionaire report, on the same list as people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. He has been operating a huge drug trade for nearly 30 years, and he’s among the United States’ most wanted criminals with a $5 million reward on his head.
  7. Bernie Madoff ($820 million USD)—Madoff is a different breed of criminal from the others on this list, but he certainly deserves his spot on here. After pleading guilty to a multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme, it came out that Madoff was worth about $820 million. According to this recent article, Madoff, who is serving a 150 year sentence, is a hero in prison and has been quoted as saying “F**k my victims”.
  8. Griselda Blanco ($500 million USD)—“The Godmother.” “The Cocaine Queen of Miami.” “The Black Widow.” These are just a few of the nicknames for Griselda Blanco, the Miami-based drug lord and the only female on our list. She is believed responsible for most of the drug-related violence in late 1970s/early 1980s Miami known as the Cocaine Cowboys War. She spent nearly 20 years in prison, and she was released in 2004 and deported back to Colombia.
  9. Brian Wright (£100 million at least)—Known as one of Britain’s richest criminals, White was brought to justice in 2007 for conspiring to import millions of pounds’ worth of cocaine into Britain. The cocaine lord was nicknamed The Milkman because “he always delivered”. He’s currently serving a 30 year prison sentence.

When making a list like this, there are always people who get overlooked. Who are some other mega-wealthy criminals that you think deserve to be on the list?

Note: This article has been corrected; it initially stated that Amado Carrillo Fuentes led the Medellin Cartel.