They say crime doesn’t pay. I guess it depends who you ask. From the Top 6 Gangsters profiled below, just two never spent a day in prison. The majority of them did not get to spend their cash. In the first part of the 20th Century, gangsters made a great deal of money selling liquor during prohibition. These days, the richest gangsters make their money from importing cocaine from Colombia through Mexico and to the U.S.. Although it is hard to find out the specific wealth of those masterminds, here are our “Top 6 Richest Gangsters.”
#1 – Pablo Escobar
Don Pablo, El Doctor, El Senor, El Patron
Escobar is the most well known and notorious drug lord in history. He is the subject of movies, TV shows, several Netflix series and documentaries. He was the overlord of the Medellin Cartel which imported billions of dollars of cocaine to the USA. At one point, Pablo was a Colombian congressman. He systematically bribed policemen, judges and government officials. If they didn’t take his bribes, he would have them killed. Forbes Magazine called Escobar the 7th richest man in the world with a net worth of $25 Billion. In 1993, Escobar was murdered by Colombian forces with US assistance, after he escaped from a Colombian prison.
#2 – Amado Carrillo Fuentes
El Senor de Los Cielos, The Lord of the Skies
Amado Carrillo Fuentes was the head of the Mexican Juarez Cartel. He was known as “El Senor de los Cielos” or “The Lord Of The Skies.” He is also the subject of a super popular Netflix series. He maintained a fleet of private planes. He transported cocaine from Colombia to Mexico and onto the United States. Fuentes net worth was estimated at $25 billion. He was without a doubt the most powerful Mexican drug dealer of all time. H supposedly died while undergoing plastic surgery in 1997. Rumors continue that the Fuentes is alive and well and living under an assumed identity.
#3 – Joseph P. Kennedy
Ambassador to Great Britain
The famous saying goes, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” Nobody proves this more than the late Joseph Kennedy. The Kennedy family is the American version of royalty. Joe Kennedy was the Ambassador to Great Britain during World War II and is the patriarch of one of America’s most prestigious and powerful families, Kennedy made his fortune in the liquor industry before and after the prohibition era. He was a Wall Street banker, a Hollywood producer, a bootlegger with ties to the mafia.Kennedy was named among the 20 richest people in America in 1954 by Fortune Magazine and had a net worth of more than $300 Million, which would be in the high billions today. It has been reported that Kennedy used his Chicago mob connections to influence the unions and get his son elected as President of the United States.
#4 – Meyer Lansky
The Mob’s Accountant
Meyer Lansky was a Jewish immigrant from Poland who was commonly referred to as “The Mob’s Accountant.” He sat beside Charles “Lucky” Luciano as the head of the notorious mob “Commission.” He modernized the mob’s operations and ran it like a Fortune 500 corporation. He financed Bugsy Siegel’s construction of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. He delivered weapons to the Israeli government during the War of Independence. During In the epic Godfather film series, the character “Hyman Roth” was based in part on the life of Meyer Lansky. Forbes would name him as one of the 400 richest people in America. Lansky was eventually indicted for tax evasion and fled to Israel to seek asylum. Due to intense pressure from the US Department of Justice, he was forced to return to the U.S. but was acquitted on all charges. Lanksy retired to Miami and passed away from natural causes at 83 years old.
#5 – Al Capone
Al Capone is one of the most notorious gangster of all time. During prohibition, Capone virtually controlled the illegal alcohol, prostitution and gambling rackets in Chicago. He was played by Robert Deniro in the popular “Untouchables” movie. He was earning well over $100 million annually at his prime. Capone’s money enabled him to bribe police officials, judges and even the Mayor of Chicago. Unfortunately, he couldn’t bribe the IRS who convicted him of tax evasion in 1932 and sentenced him to 11 years in prison.
#6 – Frank Lucas
Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington in “American Gangster,” made a fortune off the heroin trade during the Vietnam War. He trafficked pure heroin from southeast Asia. Lucas brought in his relatives from North Carolina to help him dominate the the heroin trade. He was able to break the Italian Mafia’s virtual monopoly of the drug trade in the Northeast, create an alliance and become their main supplier. He was originally arrested and sentenced to 70 years in prison. He provided information that led to over 100 arrests. He was released from prison in 1991.