Masterminds of crime - your votes?

So I been reading a little on Adam Worth - the “genius” mastermind behind some of the most daring robberies committed.

Seems to me like this guy should top out the list when it comes to career criminals who pull off clever but illegal stunts.

But can you think of any better nominees? Are there any secret masterminds who have circumvented capture for years? How about those who were caught, but found to be involved in the most sophisticated schemes of all time?
For clarity sakes, lets stick to thieving types. In other words, criminals whose sole enterprise is stealing shit from other folks in some fashion or another (fraud, conmen, jewel heisters etc.). Guys and gals in this thing for profit.

Who was the cleverest and most proficient mastermind of them all?

No Moriarty is not a valid answer. We’re talking about real life criminals here, not fictional folks.

You’re gonna need a disclaimer against politicians and the ilk, or you’ll be swarming with smart-ass replies. :wink:

Well, there was Meyer Lansky, who was involved in bootlegging, illegal gambling, extortion, drug dealing, prostitution, and who carried all this on from the 1920s to the 1970s. Does he count?

One of the biggest thefts in the US was probably the Lufthansa Heist of 1978, pulled off by the “Roberts Lounge Gang”, and led by Jimmy “the Gent” Burke and Pauli Vario. Even though pretty much everyone involved died in jail or were killed when the gang fell out, they did steal about $5.8 million, and most of that was never recovered.

Frank Abagnale, Jr. would have to be on the list somewhere.

Ever since I saw a television show on the topic, I’ve found Albert Spaggiari to be a rather impressive criminal. I’m not familiar with the other guys mentioned, so I can’t say how he compares to them. Still, millions stolen, a daring escape, and never seen again.

Ken Lay? Bernard Ebbers? Dennis Kozlowski?

They ripped off a hell of a lot more then a mere bank robber ever did.

John Jamelskie, who kept one sex slave after another imprisoned in his private bunker for 30 years, has to rank pretty high on any list of resilient, calculating sociopaths.

But my grand prize would have to go to the infamous Dr. Henry Holmes. It takes a very special kind of confident enterprise to erect a multi-story rooming house in a great urban center for the express purpose of multiple torture-murder.

So they didn’t steal. (Well, they stole lives.) I don’t think that affects “clarity” in the least: they were very, very good at what they did, and were able to do it to many people and (in Jamelskie’s case) for a very, very long time.

A little grizzly and not really what I had in mind

Sorry. I sometimes miss such important details as these when they’re squirreled down in the fourth paragraph of an OP.

Especially when the thread header talks about “crime,” rather than, say, “larceny” or “theft.”

Probably a good reason to read the entire OP, isn’t it?

You’d have to include Ronnie Biggs Not only pulling off the greatest robbery and escape, but also producing with The Pistols. Anybody else want to be him?

BTW, I thought that Adam Worth was just a fictional character in Haryy and Walter Go to New York

DB Cooper?

There aren’t any good links online, and it’s an obscure pick, but I’d go with George Leonidas Leslie, who, during his peak in the 1870’s, may have had a hand in a majority of all bank robberies in the US.

He never was convicted, only was arrested once (at the very beginning of his career), and was involved (usually as a consultant) in the theft of tens of millions of dollars- in 1870’s money.