The world’s richest criminals have reached their lofty peaks by establishing a reputation carved out of a high level of intelligence, supreme business sense or a ruthless, vicious and murderous streak – or, in some cases, all of the above. These 10 crooks aren’t merely thugs-for-hire, but have netted themselves some serious green by being in the right place at the right time and forcing their way to the upper echelon of powerful criminal organizations. Few have managed to completely escape prison time, but even those that once found themselves locked behind bars managed to engineer their own release.

Does crime pay? For these 10 wrong-doers, it most certainly does.

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