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Top 10 Infamous Gangsters

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Organized crime brings together likeminded individuals who participate in illegal activities to make money. The most famous of these groups are usually run by powerful men and women, who maintain control and influence over the people involved through methods ranging from violence, blackmail, etc. For this list, we’ve chosen male criminals who we felt were the most infamous gangsters, based on a mix of their influence, crimes, and pop culture recognition. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 gangsters. Special thanks to our users ansingh and jackcooper for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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They’re some of history’s most notorious members of organized crime. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 gangsters.

For this list, we’ve chosen male criminals who we felt were the most infamous gangsters, based on a mix of their influence, crimes, and pop culture recognition.

#10 – John Dillinger



The Great Depression gave us Bonnie and Clyde and Baby Face Nelson, but it’s Dillinger’s crimes that resonate. From bank robberies and assaults to murder, the American became famous by continuing to commit crimes despite clashes with authorities and escaping prison twice. His gang was one of the first major FBI targets during the 1930s’ “War on Crime,” and in 1934 the Feds shot him after he left the Biograph Theater.

#9 – Bugsy Siegel


With partner Meyer Lansky, Siegel hired professional murderers to do their bidding. This crew paved the way for a group of enforcers called Murder, Inc., which Siegel and other American mafia members used to execute contract killings. The charming member of the Genovese crime family had many celebrity friends and used the riches he earned bootlegging, gambling and carrying out assassinations to help develop Las Vegas.

#8 – Meyer Lansky


After organizing a street gang with Bugsy Siegel, this Jewish gangster helped assassinate one of New York’s most powerful Mafiosos, Salvatore Maranzano. This set the stage for Lucky Luciano’s climb within organized crime, and helped Lansky build gambling operations in New York, Las Vegas and Cuba. Along with Luciano, the Mob’s Accountant has also been associated with founding the National Crime Syndicate.

#7 – Joaquin Guzman Loera


His nickname may mean “Shorty,” but El Chapo Guzman didn’t let his height stop him from becoming one of the world’s richest and most powerful drug traffickers. As head of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, he has an estimated net worth of $1 billion, which has come mainly from the illegal transportation of cocaine and other drugs between Colombia, Mexico and the U.S.

#6 – Carlo Gambino


He led one of Manhattan’s most powerful crime families, but Gambino never spent a day in prison. After joining multiple mobsters in bootlegging, robbery and illegal gambling, the Sicily-born criminal slowly rose through the ranks in the Mangano family until he was its boss and new namesake. By staying out of the limelight and discouraging family members to deal drugs, he expanded his success and rackets across the States.

#5 – Pablo Escobar


With a personal fortune of $25 billion, this Colombian drug lord earned the nickname “World’s Greatest Outlaw” by maintaining his wealth and drug-trafficking empire without capture for decades. By commanding over-three-quarters of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. via the Medellin Cartel, Escobar and his gang became one of the country’s most feared networks. Never afraid to bribe or kill to get his way, he’s allegedly responsible for Colombia’s increased crime rate.

#4 – Frank Costello


He wasn’t called The Prime Minister of the Underworld for nothing: Costello went from Italian gangster to boss of the Luciano crime family by engaging in theft, bootlegging, rum-running and gambling rackets. He also associated with important businessmen and politicians. But it was his financial success and the indictment of fellow mobster Vito Genovese that ultimately allowed him to become such an influential crime boss.

#3 – John Gotti


Nicknamed The Dapper Don for his designer attire and showy image, Gotti became head of the Gambino crime family after orchestrating the boss’ death. He made millions with the organized crime syndicate thanks to racketeering, gambling, hijacking and other activities. Though he was called The Teflon Don for his uncanny ability to avoid jail during the 1980s, the FBI finally convicted him with the help of underboss Sammy Gravano.

#2 – Charles Luciano


Modern organized crime as it exists in America today wouldn’t be what it is without Lucky Luciano. The Italian-born mobster created The Commission to govern over the five different New York Mafia crime families. After founding the powerful Luciano crime family, now the Genovese crime family, he made a name for himself through blackmailing, pimping, unlawful gambling, drug smuggling and loan-sharking.

#1 – Al Capone


This Italian-American gangster’s crimes were so infamous, the Chicago Outfit crime syndicate became known as The Capone Family. Living and working during Prohibition, Scarface quickly realized the profits he could gain from smuggling alcohol, as well as prostitution and gambling. He ensured his security by paying off influential figures and donating to charity. His gang was also notoriously violent, as seen during the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Do you agree with our list? Who do you think is the most infamous gangster? Be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com for more entertaining top 10s.
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