The 10 Most Successful Gangsters of ALL Time (Part.1)

While we at don’t advocate crime at all, something has to be said about how lucrative being a gangster has been for some people over the years.  What makes someone turn to a life of crime, and what makes them so successful at it?  Psychologists believe that a troubled childhood might lead to people craving the need to be respected at any cost – they would demand it and enforce it through brute violence, sly business dealings and daring illegal feats.  What makes a successful gangster is often the marriage between a fearless, amoral disposition and cutthroat business acumen.   Let’s have a look at the most successful gangsters, financially speaking, of course.

Frank Lucas:  $52 million

successful gangsters

Lucas was born in La Grange, North Carolina in 1930 and moved to Harlem in 1946.  Driven by the aspiration to be “Donald Trump” rich, he saw a market for selling heroin when he noticed how many U.S Servicemen were returning from Vietnam with seething heroin addictions.  Lucas aimed to fuel those addictions by travelling to Vietnam and shipping directly from the source, bypassing the Italian mafia who were in control of Harlem at the time.  He worked closely with opium lord Khun Sa and shipped heroin from Southeast Asia in coffins that were flown from Vietnam to the U.S.  He worked only with family members and was known to make approximately a million dollars a day.  After Lucas’ eventual incarceration he displayed remorse for the part he played in the devastation of Harlem and spent time working with his daughter’s non-profit organization, Yellow Brick Roads, which protects the children of incarcerated parents.  He was played by Denzel Washington in the 2007 film, American Gangster based on his life.

Jose Jigueroa Agosto:  $100 million

successful gangsters

Puerto Rican Agosto was born in San Juan in 1964.  He was arrested for the murder of a driver who managed to steal a shipment of cocaine, but managed to escape prison by walking out with a fake release order and fleeing to the Dominican Republic.  This would not be the last time the he eluded law officials with alternate identities and kept the law off his back by paying off bribes.  He managed to make millions in drug trafficking and controlled over 90% of drug traffic from Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico.  He was finally arrested in July 2010 by DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshals and Puerto Rican Police.  His fortune was valued at $100 million.

Joseph Kennedy:   $300 million

successful gangsters

Born a Boston, Massachusetts native in 1888, Joseph P. Kennedy made his first million by the age of 30.  Kennedy was already legally in the liquor business, but when Prohibition struck he was forced to contact mobsters in New York and Chicago and become a bootlegger.  After Prohibition, Kennedy maintained his mob ties and it is believed that he used them extensively to gain control over political elections.  Kennedy lived to father a U.S. President, a District Attorney and a Senator, and while seemingly on the up and up, known associations with mobsters like Frank Costello and Sam Giancana and allegations of influencing unions and fixing elections definitely secures him a place on our list.

Meyer Lansky:  $600 million

successful gangsters

Born as Maier Suchowljansky, Lansky was born July 4th, 1902.  A Polish Jew in Russia, he immigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1911 to New York’s Lower East Side.  His infamous partnering with Bugsy Siegel saw him running a floating crap game, organizing a small gang and later moving on to bigger felonies like auto theft, burglary and liquor smuggling.  During 1932 to 1934 Lansky joined with Lucky Luciano to form a national crime syndicate, with Lansky operating as banker for the syndicate and using international accounts to launder money.  He moved into gambling operations in Cuba, Florida and Las Vegas and aided his old friend Siegel in acquiring a casino in Las Vegas.  He would later order a hit on Siegel after he attempted to steal from the syndicate.  Lansky had his hands in everything from narcotics, prostitution and pornography to racketeering, extortion and money laundering.  He was named one of the richest people in America with a net worth of $600 million.  He later attempted to flee to Israel but was forced to return to the U.S. to face trial.  With failing health, Lansky did not see much jail time, and was discharged – he later died of lung cancer at the ripe old age of 83.  Lansky would forever be remembered as one of the most well-known gangsters of his time.

Al Capone:  $1.3 billion

successful gangsters

Alphonse Capone was born January 17th, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York to an educated father who worked as a barber.  Capone came from a respectable family but was expelled from Catholic school by age 14 for assaulting a teacher.  Capone would never return to school and was seduced into a life of crime by gangster Johnny Torrio.  After Torrio’s gang rose to power, he requested Capone move to Chicago in 1909 and by 1925 Capone took hold of Torrio’s empire after his retirement.  He ran all of Chicago’s prostitution, gambling and bootlegging rackets and had the nickname of “Scarface”, due to a scar left after an early knife fight.  He ruled Chicago with an iron fist and ruthlessly took out other gangs who tried to muscle in on his territory.  Capone was responsible for the infamous “Valentine’s Day Massacre” which took place on February 14th, 1929.  He was tired of dealing with rival, Bugs Moran and his Northsiders gang and decided to take them all out under the guise of a raid.  Moran had survived but it was clear who had ordered the hit, and with government officials, judges and police officers on his payroll, used his influence to hunt Capone down.  Capone was soon arrested for tax evasion and spent 11 years in prison, but was released early on good behavior.  He died in 1947 at age 48.


That concludes Part.1 of our most notorious gangsters of all time; keep an eye out for Part.2 which feature some of the more current criminal masterminds and the number one wealthiest, most successful gangster of all time – a man who is said to have burnt money to keep warm.  In the meantime, head over to our online lottery site to see how you could become a megamillionaire as well, all legal and without getting shot at. evens the lottery playing odds by allowing you guaranteed entry to as many as 14 of the world’s most lucrative lottery games, with the feature U.S’ Megamillions and Powerball games offering up a $20 million and $101 million dollar grand jackpot respectively.  Don’t delay and get playing by registering with the world’s number one online lotto site now!

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This post was written by
Kurt - who has written 544 articles

Posted by NAgaZ8l (4/07/2014)

Lol well that's all fine and dandy, but I'd rather not have to look over my shoulder every 5 seconds**

Posted by Felhix Olokani (4/07/2014)

Its all about education. Some choices are worthy emulation while others are not. It reminds me of the Apostle Paul in the Holy Bible in Acts of the Apostles while going to Damuscus to deliver letters for persecution of the church of God and its people met Jesus Christ who said "Saul why are you persecuting me?" but with the mercy of God through Jesus Christ "SAUL" was saved and started a new lease of life that earned him the "SALVATION" finally and changed his name from SAUL to PAUL. From Persecutor to Evengelizer, Preacher who preached the Gospel (Glad Tidings) to his fullest. In other words from Old and Worst person to New and Changed person for the better because he is believed to be happily in the Kingdom of God. I hope this lesson "The 10 Most Successful Gangsters of ALL Time " we are learning from this will not just be for nothing but whether after committing all those atrocities, to those who are alive and those who passed their souls are and will be in good books with The Almighty God.

Posted by Ying Kwong (4/07/2014)

It's much better to be rich legally.

Posted by Ionut (4/07/2014)

damn man.... $1.3 billion... I had no clue he was that rich

Posted by Balasubramaniam (5/07/2014)

Thanks for the informations about"Most successful Gangsters" !!!

Posted by IWw0Ut- (6/07/2014)

OMG!!!!! To think that crime can bring about so much wealth certainly changes the idiom "crime does not pay"!

Posted by Krishnan (9/07/2014)

"Capone was soon arrested for tax evasion and spent 11 years in prison, but was released early on good behavior. He died in 1947 at age 48." For all the crimes he had committed, had he only paid tax he would not have been arrested 11

Posted by Beni (21/08/2014)


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