They say crime doesn't pay. Whoever said that, though, didn't know Amado Carillo Fuentes. They probably didn't know Pablo Escobar or Susumu Ishii, either.
These three are some of the richest criminals in history. Each is worth millions. And they're not alone. Many criminals, both in the past and today, have been extremely wealthy.
And, yes, many of them got their way thanks to everything from murder to drug running to financial fraud. So perhaps that whole "crime doesn't pay" isn't 100 percent accurate.
When compiling a list of the richest criminals in history, you have to start with Amado Carillo Fuentes. Fuentes, the leader of the infamous Mexican Juarez cartel, is credited with smuggling four times more cocaine into the United States than any other smuggler. He earned his nickname, "God of the sky" because of the huge fleet of planes he used to shuttle cocaine from one destination to the next. It was estimated that he was worth a whopping $25 billion at the height of his criminal career.
It's unclear, though, just how much of his money Fuentes was able to enjoy. He died during a botched plastic surgery. He was, of course, trying to alter his appearance to avoid detection by the authorities.
Pablo Escobar is no slouch, either. He, too, was worth billions of dollars; $9 billion in his case. Like Fuentes, much of his money came from illegal drugs. He was the head of the vicious Medellin cocaine cartel in Colombia. This cartel is known as the most powerful drug cartel in history.
Modern criminals are financially successful, too. Take Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar. He's worth $6.7 billion, and is listed prominently on the 20 Most Wanted List in India. A gold runner and head of the mafia gang D-Company in Mumbai, Kaskar continues to elude the police. No one is quite sure where's hiding these days.
Carlos Lehder also makes the list of wealthiest criminals. Worth $2.7 billion, Lehder now spends his days in a top-secret jail. He, too, earned his fortune through drug running. He dealt from Colombia to the United States.
Worth almost as much as Lehder, is Robert Allen Stanford, estimated to be worth $2.2 billion. Lehder, who is now a resident of the U.S. corrections system, made his dollars through money laundering for the Gulf Cartel. He was also jailed for financial fraud and for owing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxes.
Finally, there's Semion Mogilevich, whose whereabouts are unknown. Mogilevich, a member of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, is wanted for mail, wire and securities fraud. He also faces the charge of money laundering. Mogilevich is worth about $1 billion.
Of course, while these criminals may have made a lot of money, spending it is another matter. Many of them are on the run from law enforcement agencies. Others are in jail, unable to touch their ill-gotten gains.
Maybe there is some truth, then, to the old adage about crime not paying the bills.