25 Most Brilliant Criminals In History

Rather than using their powers for good, genius criminal minds spend their time figuring out how to pull off the most perfect crimes in history. Keep in mind, we are not honoring the brilliance of these criminal masterminds. We’re just acknowledging that brilliance can be used for evil as well as good. These are the 25 Most Brilliant Criminals In History.

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Albert Spaggiari

Albert SpaggiariSource: nytimes.com

A high profile French bank robber, Albert was notoriously clever. When he did finally get caught, he escaped by handing the judge a fake piece of evidence and jumping out the window onto a waiting motorcycle. He remained at large until his death from throat cancer. (An unknown person dumped Albert’s body on his mother’s lawn.)


Carl Gugasian

Carl GugasianSource: latimes.com

With a PhD in statistics and probability, Carl is possibly one of the most educated thieves on our list. He is also one of the most prolific bank robbers in US history, having robbed more than 50 banks over the course of 30 years. He was caught in 2002 after several boys playing near a drainage ditch stumbled across his cache of weapons/maps/equipment. Police were eventually led to Carl’s door.


Jonathan Wild

Jonathan WildSource: britannica.com

Jonathan was a popular figure in the London underworld in the 1700’s. He posed as a vigilante crime fighter who was in fact in on the crimes and would quite often get a cut of the profit. His public image eventually suffered, however, and he was hung at the gallows.


J.D. McMahon

J.D. McMahonSource: houstonchronicle.com

McMahon swindled investors out of their money when he told them he was building a skyscraper. In the blueprints, he replaced all the “feet” with “inches.” J.D. then managed to escape justice because in his defense, he claimed that he never actually said the building would be 480 feet (it was only 480 inches). To this day, the “world’s littlest skyscraper” stands in Wichita Falls, Texas.


Victor Lustig

Victor LustigSource: biography.com

Ironically enough, Victor’s last name means “funny” in German. Which is appropriate because one of his boldest cons was to sell the Eiffel Tower…twice.

Featured Image: shutterstock, 25. pixabay (public domain), 24-23. Wikimedia commons (public domain), 22. Chuck Coker via flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0, 21-20. pixabay (public domain), 19-18. Wikimedia commons (public domain), 17-15. pixabay (public domain), 14-12. Wikimedia commons (public domain), 11. pixabay (public domain), 10-9. Wikimedia commons (public domain), 8-7. pixabay (public domain), 6-5. Wikimedia commons (public domain), 4. pixabay (public domain), 3. marcus_jb1973 via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 2. fr.wikipedia.org (public domain), 1. Wikimedia commons (public domain)

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