The rich and powerful can buy almost anything they want, including their freedom. A huge amount of money can make a difference between spending a certain amount of time behind bars or walking as a free man/woman. There are many cases in which the well-off should have been locked up for years to come, and instead walked free or got reduced sentences. For everybody else, those same rules seem to not apply. A large amount of millionaire criminals are businessmen and celebrities. Other millionaires didn't even earn their money the legal way to begin with, and these individuals include drug lords, drug dealers and mob bosses.
The justice system apparently gives an overwhelming amount of privileges if the dollar signs look right. These millionaires are nearly untouchable when it comes to the law and they suffer no consequences. Under some circumstances, the millionaire criminals even taunted law enforcement authorities. In cases where they should have been locked away for years, they served little to no time inside the dreaded prison walls. We are not just talking about petty crimes here. We are talking about crimes involving robbery, drugs and even murder. The common person, most of the time, must pay their debts to society and will not see the light of day until their full time is served or they are released early due to good behavior.
15 Ryan Levin
Ryan Levin, who is also known as a “millionaire playboy”, was driving around in an expensive Porsche when he went off the road and killed two tourists from Britain. Not only was he involved in a deadly accident, he also fled the scene and was dishonest with police officers about certain details. He was eventually arrested and his charges would have normally resulted in 10 years in prison. Instead of Levin serving time in jail, he took a plea deal that ordered him to pay restitution to the deceased’s families. His lawyer, David Bogenschutz, said, “The wives and children of the deceased were significantly and permanently impacted by this incident, and they have indicated that there exists a great necessity for restitution which the defendant can, and will make if permitted a sentence devoid of incarceration.” The restitution payment settled out the civil lawsuit that was filed by the families. That's a pretty good deal considering that two people were killed.
14 Frank Lucas
Worth $52 million, Frank Lucas became a drug kingpin and notorious gangster by the 1960s. He orchestrated an international drug organization that extended from New York to Asia. His expertise included bringing Heroin into the United States by hiding it inside coffins of deceased soldiers. In spite of his crimes, he has only served five years for what should have been a 70-year sentence, and has only served 12 years of his entire life behind bars. In his earlier years, Lucas resorted to a life of crime when it became challenging for him to keep a job. His ways of survival included mugging drunk bar patrons and stealing. He also knocked out his former boss with a pipe, stole money, and set the building on fire. Later on, he moved to New York where he launched himself into the drug world. He wanted to be Donald Trump-rich and eventually, he made it where he wanted to be and was raking in millions per day.
13 Nicky Barnes
Barnes is worth over $100 million and is also known as Mr. Untouchable. In the 1970s, Barnes had a large drug operation that extended from New York to Canada. There were many individuals who worked under him at different levels including lieutenants, distributors and street dealers. His name Mr. Untouchable, was derived due to his ability to avoid a number of arrests and criminal charges. At one point, Barnes was caught on surveillance doing a high-speed chase with police for the simple purpose of getting underneath their skin. Eventually, he was arrested and was initially sentenced to life in prison. However, after he agreed to become an informant, his life sentence was reversed and he was released from prison in 1998.
12 Haissam Safetli
Millionaire businessman, Haissam Safetli, was accused of being involved in a murder that happened back in 2009. The victim, Michael McGurk, was shot and killed at his home in front of his nine-year-old son. It was challenging for prosecutors to prove who fired the fatal shot since two individuals were suspects. The court determined that Ron Medich ordered the hit and paid Safetli in the amount of $300,000. In turn, Safetli plead guilty and worked with authorities. In the end, Safetli was only sentenced to six years and is expected to be a free man by 2017. It’s safe to say that many would agree that this is not nearly as much time deserved for someone’s death.
11 John Gordon Abbott
Abbott and two other men by the names of Michael Hennessey and Phillip Thompson allegedly murdered Valerie McDonald. After Hennessey became close with McDonald, he told her that she was going to be an extra in a film. With that story, he was able to lure her to a warehouse where she was drugged and bounded to a mattress for 10 days. Her body was discovered in 1990, but was not identified until 2000. Neither of the men were charged with murder and Abbott took off to Canada subsequently afterward. However, his escape plan came to a halt when he shot at Mounties who were apprehending him. After seven years of time served in prison, he was released. He is allegedly residing in Japan.
10 Griselda Blanco (Aka “The Godmother”)
She may not look the part, but Blanco was known as one of the most treacherous among gangsters in the drug industry between the 1970s and 1980s. By the time she was just 11 years old, she already displayed a sociopathic personality. She took another child hostage in exchange for ransom. It didn’t end there, she also killed the child after shooting him in the head. As she grew into her adult years, she became a mob boss and during that time, she ordered over 200 hits and even forced men to engage in sexual activity with her while having a gun pointed at them. She was ruthless indeed and it is also believed that she murdered three husbands. The last time she was seen was back in 2007.
9 Joaquin Loera
Joaquin Loera is also known as Crystal King and El Chapo. He is one of the richest in the world (Forbes net worth in 2010 was estimated to be $5 billion). A majority of his money came from being a drug dealer in Mexico. He is not some ordinary drug dealer and it is said that he is the most powerful drug dealer in the world. He is nearly untouchable and at some point, he taunted authorities after two military officers were shot and killed. He left a message with police that said: “You’ll never get ‘El Chapo’, not the priests, not the government.” He is allegedly still on the loose.
8 Pablo Escobar
He was once living in poverty with no electricity, and ended up becoming a billionaire criminal. Pablo Escobar became known as one of the most powerful men around the world. During his drug operations, his workers managed to smuggle in 15 tons of cocaine on a daily basis. He even went as far as offering lead or silver to snooping officials. In this kind of world, lead was meant for bullets and silver was meant for bribes. Forbes Magazine named him the seventh richest man in the world by 1989 and his assets were worth nearly $25 billion. He was also in control of 80% of the cocaine market worldwide.
7 Paul Lir Alexander
He is worth $170 million. Paul Lir Alexander made an enormous amount of money by smuggling cocaine into the country. He wanted to make sure that he did not have much competition so he partnered up with the federal government to shut down other drug smugglers. He was able to accomplish this by portraying himself as the law abiding citizen to officials. After becoming the only drug smuggler in town, he relocated to Brazil. Eventually, he was caught in the U.S. and was sentenced to 12 years. By 2005, he was deported back to Brazil where he faced another 42 years in prison. However, he managed to gain his freedom in 2011 through work release. Alexander still could not stay out of trouble and he walked off the job. He posted a taunting status update on Facebook that read “LOL can’t find me!”
6 Zhenli Ye Gon
Gon was also in the drug trade business, but he did not make his money by being out in the streets. He was able to make a fortune by allegedly selling pseudoephedrine. He easily had access to this drug due to his position as an executive for a pharmaceutical company. Gon brought in the drug from China into Mexico and eventually, he made Mexico his permanent residence. Legal troubles caught up with him which caused over $200 million of assets to be seized. At this time, the charges against him are still pending. In spite of his assets being seized, he possibly will not have to worry too much about his finances since he has loads of money hiding away in Hong Kong, Mexico and Europe.
5 Freeway Ricky Ross
Ross is worth $600 million (which came from dealing and smuggling drugs in Los Angeles). He was able to stack up on his money throughout the 1980s when there was a high amount of crack cocaine use. In 1996, a sting operation landed him behind bars after authorities led him into buying over 200 pounds of the drug. In spite of the heavy charge against him, Ross received a reduced sentence and by 2009, he was released. Apparently, he played a vital role as a drug dealer to the point that he was called upon to be part of the Iran-Contra hearings. Even though he has his entanglements with the law, that did not stop him from filing a lawsuit against the rapper Rick Ross (aka William Roberts) for using his name. He is clearly all about making the most out of his money and even went on to write a book about his life which was released in 2014.
4 Al Capone
This has become such a well-known name in the country (and perhaps the world), that even movies were based off of him. Al Capone had a worth of over $1 billion and made history (in the United States) for being the most ruthless gangster. He became involved in the drug industry at a young age and it stuck with him for most of his life. During the prohibition, he relocated to Chicago from New York to act as a bodyguard for those who were smuggling alcohol. During these times, technology was not as advanced as it is today and gathering evidence was no easy task. Authorities eventually arrested him, not for alcohol smuggling, but for tax evasion. He did serve time in prison, but only served eight years out of the original 11-year sentence. Just a few years after being put back into society, Capone died after suffering from a cardiac arrest.
3 Amado Carrillo Fuentes
During his time, he was one of the wealthiest and most powerful drug kings. He had everything, from luxury private jets to a stash of billions. Since his family was already involved in the drug trade, learning the ropes came easy to him. Shortly after, he climbed the ladder to become the top distributor of cocaine in Mexico. For distribution, he used 27 Boeing aircrafts. The drug business was not the only crime he committed. He also executed the Juarez Cartel leader back in 1993. In spite of his heinous crimes, arresting him was not easy to come by for authorities. Due to his sophisticated and powerful nature, he posed quite a challenge. As authorities vamped up their efforts, Fuentes vamped up his escape plan by going through plastic surgery. In 1997, he underwent a procedure that ultimately led to his death. He lived up to his quote, “If I die, nobody killed me. The only person who can kill Amado Carrillo is Amado Carrillo.”
2 Khun Sa (Aka Chang Chi-fu)
Not only was he one of the richest men in Burma, he was also one of the most dangerous. After building his drug empire, he became known as the Opium King. He received his training from the Chinese Nationalist Party which he eventually left to form his own small army. Authorities caught up with him and he served four years in prison. It wasn’t too long after his release that he regained traction in the opium trade. Since he was apparently strategic, he created various alliances and started to become even more powerful. By the mid-90s, Khun Sa was responsible for supplying 90 percent of heroin throughout New York, which put him under the radar for the U.S. authorities. Even though the U.S. sought to have him criminally charged, Burma never gave him any prison time and did not participate in extradition. He eventually passed away in 2007.
1 Emile Hirsch
Known for acting in The Girl Next Door, The Emperor's Club and other films, Hirsch is no stranger to the big screen. In 2015, Hirsch physically attacked a staff member of Paramount Pictures by body slamming her and putting her in a choke hold. It’s not known what prompted this attack and there are no answers coming from Hirsch since he claims that he does not remember. He told the court that he could not remember the event, but also said that there was no excuse for his actions. He was originally expecting five years in prison for the attack, but he was offered a deal consisting of certain requirements. If he met all of the requirements, the charge would be erased, but if not, he faced being locked up for one year. He took the deal and met the requirements to avoid risking his freedom. Instead of facing five years or even one year in jail, he was sentenced to serve a whopping 15 days in jail, 50 hours of community service, 90 days of probation, and pay $4,750. It was also mandatory for him to enlist in a treatment program. In most areas, including the state of Utah, a third degree felony warrants a $5,000 fine and five years in prison. Let’s be honest with ourselves, most people would have served at least one year in jail and still have to pay restitution.