header print

History's 20 Most Brilliant Criminals

Who says that crime doesn’t pay? Rather than making use of their powers for good causes, these 20 criminal masterminds spent a lot of their time working out how to get away with some of the most perfect crimes in history!
1. Leonardo Notarbartolo
Leonardo Notarbartolo is believed to be the mastermind behind 2003's Antwerp Diamond Heist, which came to be known as 'the heist of the century.' He was the only thief to be caught and imprisoned, but was released after just a short stretch. The diamonds have never been recovered, and some believe that Leonardo allowed himself to get caught on purpose. If that's really the case, he's now rich and can never return to jail for this crime, since he's already served his sentence!
2. Carlo Gambino
The Godfather himself. He expertly ran New York's mob scene for quite a few years, yet this highly-elusive Italian-American gangster never saw the inside of a jail cell, in spite of the government's greatest efforts!
3. Bernard Madoff
Bernie needs no introduction, since he's one of the most notorious fraudsters in recent memory. His Ponzi scheme, through which he managed to swindle over $64 billion dollars, is the largest financial fraud in America's history.
4. J. D. McMahon
McMahon craftily swindled investors out of their hard-earned cash when he told them that he was constructing a skyscraper. However, when drafting the blueprints, he replaced all instances of 'feet' with 'inches.' Incredibly, he actually managed to get away with it too, since he claimed that he never actually said that it'd be 480 feet and not 480 inches! The 'world's littlest skyscraper' still stands today, in Wichita Falls, Texas.
5. Anthony Curcio
Now a public speaker, Anthony rose to fame in 2008 as the Craigslist Robber. Whilst planning to rob the Bank of America, Anthony began looking for construction workers on Craigslist. His ad instructed the workers to assemble close to the bank around the time of the heist. Anthony then robbed the bank and fled the scene disguised as a construction worker himself! He would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for a homeless man who witnessed the entire scene.
6. Al Capone
Al Capone was a master of public relations, and was generally well-received by the citizens of Chicago. Even though his mob name was 'Scarface,' residents called him 'Robin Hood' and cheered whenever he made a public appearance. Such public perception was apparently due to his numerous donations and support of quite a few local charities.
7. Albert Spaggiari
Albert Spaggiari was a notoriously clever French bank robber. When he eventually got caught, he managed to escape by confusing the judge with a fake piece of evidence, before jumping out of the window onto a planted motorbike. He was never seen again!
8. Tom Horn Jr.
Tom was a man of many talents. Throughout his turbulent life, he tried everything from being a lawman to an army scout. However, he is best-remembered as a cutthroat outlaw. Despite not being as famous as Billy the Kid or Jesse James, Tom made a name for himself in the violence department, and was eventually hung from a water-powered gallows.
9. Carl Gugasian
With a PhD in probability and statistics, Carl is one of the most educated criminals of all time! Over the course of 30 years, this criminal mastermind managed to rob over 50 banks. He was finally caught in 2002, after some local children came across his stash of weapons and equipment near a drainage ditch.
10. Victor Lustig
Lustig's major claim to fame comes from him managing to successfully 'sell' the Eiffel Tower twice. Ironically enough, his last name actually means 'funny' in German.


11. Jeffrey Allen Manchester
After breaking out of prison, and hiding out in Toys R Us for a few months, Jeffrey eventually became known as the Toys R Us Bandit. While in hiding, he posed as a faithful member of the local church, and even found himself a girlfriend from the congregation. After planning another robbery, however, the police caught on to him, and his girlfriend ended up turning him in.
12. Ching Shih
One of the most prominent Asian pirates of the 19th century, Ching commanded around 40,000 men in several hundred vessels. She was known to challenge entire empires, and is considered one of the powerful and legendary pirates in history.
13. Gerald Blanchard
Canadian police describe Gerald as Canada's 'most sophisticated' criminal mastermind ever. He once parachuted into Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace and stole the Star of Empress Sisi, leaving a fake version behind him. After serving his time in jail, he has now embarked on a new career as a security consultant.
14. Natwarlal
Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava, a.k.a. Natwarlal, was a famous Indian con artist, who repeatedly 'sold' the House of Parliament and the Taj Mahal. By the time of his death, he was wanted in more than 100 cases of identity theft and forgery.
15. Hassan and Abbas O
Thanks to German privacy laws, the public have never found out their last name, but that's not all that German law protects them from! After robbing a massive department store, they accidentally dropped a single glove behind them. DNA testing led the police to this pair of identical twins, but German law requires each person to be individually convicted. Since they couldn't determine which twin the glove belonged to, the police were forced to let them both go free!
16. Adam Worth
The most notorious bank robber and safe cracker in the northeast during the 19th century, Adam Worth became known as the 'Napoleon of Crime.' When things started heating up for him in the States, he sailed over to England, where he disguised himself as a wealthy gentleman in order to evade the law. After many years, the police eventually caught up with him in Belgium.
17. Jonathan Wild
Wild was a very popular figure in London's 18th century underworld. His modus-operandi was to pose as a vigilante crime fighter, whilst actually being in on the crimes themselves! His public image eventually began to suffer, and he ended up being hung at the gallows.


18. Frank William Abagnale Jr.
Frank is one of history's most famous imposters, and is the inspiration behind the movie, 'Catch Me If You Can.' Before turning 21, he had already assumed the identities of a lawyer, a doctor, and a pilot. He has escaped from police custody twice, one of which was from from a taxiing airplane! After helping the government identify forgeries for a number of years, he now runs his own financial fraud company.
19. Charles Manson
Using his twisted charm, this Californian songwriter managed to create his own cult, named the Manson Family, with which he intended to start a race war. After being imprisoned for numerous murders, he somehow managed to become a pop culture icon from behind bars!
20. The Pink Panthers
'The Pink Panthers' is the name Interpol gave to a group of Balkan criminals who carried out some of the craziest heists in history. Bizarrely, many people have described their crimes as "art." To get a clearer picture, imagine 'The Italian Job' or 'Ocean's Eleven' in real life!
Source: izismilelist25
Cover Image: depositphotos
Next Post
Sign Up for Free Daily Posts!
Did you mean:
Continue With: Facebook Google
By continuing, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy
Sign Up for Free Daily Posts!
Did you mean:
Continue With: Facebook Google
By continuing, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy