It’s incredibly shocking to discover when a wealthy person like a millionaire or billionaire commits a horrific crime. Not a white-collar crime like what Bernie Madoff did, but something truly violent. While poverty is not an excuse for committing crimes, it’s understandable that when people are oppressed, it can lead them to commit unspeakable acts. However, it's not easy to understand why people who seemingly have everything they could ever want would risk losing it all.
Here are ten millionaires (and a billionaire) who committed horrific crimes. Most of these crimes were murder, but how and why these acts were committed is what makes them horrific. Furthermore, many of the victims in these cases were family members. For example, one millionaire on this list was a mother who killed her own son. In more than one of these cases, these criminals shockingly killed the mothers of their own children.
So did they get away with it? Money makes it easier to run, but it doesn’t always make it easier to hide. Ultimately, no one is able to get away with everything, no matter how much you can pony up for the best defense attorneys. If you commit the crime, you have to do the time, even if you think you can pay your way out of it.
10 Robert Durst
Robert Durst is one of the heirs to New York’s largest real estate fortune. In 2001, Durst shot and killed his Galveston, Texas neighbor Morris Black, in what he said was self-dense. Then he dismembered the body and disposed of it in Galveston Bay. Durst served just three years in prison.
He has also been accused of murdering his first wife, Kathleen McCormack, who went missing in 1982, but has never been found. Durst has also been connected with the murder of his then longtime friend Susan Berman, which occurred in 2000. Furthermore, he is currently a potential suspect in the disappearances of three other women. In the last episode of a HBO multi part documentary, which explores all of these accusations called The Jinx, Durst can be heard off camera, while still hooked up to the microphone, saying “killed them all”, essentially admitting to all of these horrible, gruesome crimes.
9 Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein made his fortune in the finance industry. He is a billionaire with homes throughout the world, but in 2008, Epstein spent 18 months in the Big House. He was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution. While Epstein most certainly used to be on the list for fancy parties and events, his name now graces the Sex Offender Registry. Although Epstein has denied it, there have been multiple reports that he kept sex slaves at his estate dubbed Orgy Island, in the US Virgin Islands. Throughout the years, many famous visitors took Epstein's private jet to Orgy Island for some fun, including former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew.
8 O.J. Simpson
It’s a pretty well known fact that former NFL superstar O.J. Simpson, got away with killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend, Ron Goldman, on June 12, 1994. It was a very gruesome crime. Both Goldman and Brown were stabbed to death with a knife. Brown was stabbed multiple times in the neck and head. The wound on her neck was so deep that her larynx was visible. She also had defensive wounds on her hands from reportedly trying to fight O.J. off. Tragically, Brown was the mother of Simpson’s two children, which makes this crime not just horrific, but twisted. He might have gotten away with murder, but Simpson has been in prison since 2008, after being convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping. In 2017, he will be eligible for parole.
7 Gigi Jordan
Gigi Jordan is a millionaire home healthcare executive who committed the ultimate horrific crime, matricide. In 2010, Jordan checked into the tony Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan with her 8-year-old son, who suffered from autism. Before trying to take her own life, she poisoned her son to death by taking a syringe and giving him an overdose of various prescription medications. In late 2014, she was convicted of manslaughter and currently faces a sentence of five to 25 years in prison. In a statement to the court, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance JR said, “Gigi Jordan showed no mercy to her son, and should receive none at the time of her sentencing.”
6 John du Pont
John du Pont was the heir to the du Pont chemical fortune. In 1986, he shot and killed David Schultz, who was an Olympic medalist and wrestling coach. His wife Nancy witnessed the murder. Mentally unstable, du Pont believed Schultz was part of an international conspiracy to kill him. The court found du Pont mentally ill, but still guilty of the crime. In 2014, actor Steve Carell portrayed du Pont in the movie Foxcatcher. The film was critically acclaimed and nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Director.
5 Phil Spector
Phil Spector is one of the most famous record producers and songwriters in the world, producing more than 25 Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1965. However, all the money and fame didn’t mean he wasn't capable of murder or make Spector above the law. In 2003, he killed B-movie actress Lana Clarkson, in Alhambra, California mansion. Spector claimed Clarkson’s death was an accidental suicide and that she “kissed the gun", but the court found him guilty. Spector was sentenced to 19 years to life in state prison. In 2014, he fell ill and has now lost his ability to speak. Still, justice will never truly be served.
4 Michael Vick
NFL quarterback Michael Vick, committed one of the sickest offenses a person can commit: torturing animals. Vick served 21 months in prison after operating an illegal interstate dog-fighting ring known as “Bad Newz Kennels”. It was bad news indeed. Investigators discovered over 70 dogs, most of which were pitbull terriers and seized them from Vick’s property. Many of the dogs were injured and needed care for life. Vick also admitted to killing several dogs that did not perform well by hanging or drowning them. While many people feel Vick wasn't punished nearly enough, he has since apologized for his crime and admitted wrong doing.
3 Suge Knight
Rap mega producer Marion “Suge” Knight has committed a laundry list of violent offenses. In 1987, Knight assaulted his then girlfriend on the street and cut the ponytail off her head. Just two years later, he allegedly dangled Vanilla Ice over a balcony and threatened to drop him if he didn't sign over a royalty agreement. Many people say Knight is responsible for the murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G., but it's never been proven. In January 2015, he was involved in a hit and run, which left one man injured and another man dead. The case is currently pending in a California court.
2 Robert Blake
Robert Blake is an actor best known for starring in the television show Baretta, in the 1970s. In 2005, Blake was tried, but ultimately acquitted for killing his second wife Bonnie Lee Bakley. However, he was found liable for Bakley’s death in Civil Court on wrongful death charges. After leaving Vitello’s restaurant in Studio City, California, Blake parked his car on a side street outside the restaurant. Then Bakley was shot in the head. Blake claimed he wasn’t in the car at the time. He actually claimed he got out of the car and went back to the restaurant because he had coincidentally left his gun there. It was determined the gun Blake had left in the restaurant did not kill Bakley. No matter what happened, the situation between Blake and Bakley was completely bizarre.
1 Aaron Hernandez
In June 2013, former New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez, was charged with first-degree murder. Hernandez was the highest paid tight end in NFL history with a five-year $40 million dollar contract, in addition to a multi-million dollar signing bonus. However, throughout his career, Hernandez was known for questionable and violent behavior off the field. He is currently being tried for the shooting death of Lloyd Odin after an altercation the two had at a South Boston nightclub, in 2012. Odin was a semi- professional football player who was dating Hernandez's fiance's sister. No matter the outcome, it doesn't look like Hernandez will be on the field or anywhere but behind bars any time soon.