American Criminals

America, a country known for its tall skyscrapers, redwood forests, amazing beaches, sun-bleached hillsides and larger than life cities, has attracted tourists in thousands, thanks to its geographic mainstays. Then there is this influential lot of rich, famous, and powerful Americans and its king-sized attractions that has made the country even more tempting to the world outside. But under all the fun and beauty, lurks a doomed, depressing side of America. That is right! America has been home to some of history's classic lawbreakers, infamous crooks, and criminals who have time and again pushed America into headlines and for all the wrong reasons. Discover all about some of America's most infamous criminals in this section. We trail down the feats and deeds of some of America's most wanted criminals in the trivia, timeline, and interesting facts presented in the biographies below.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Rank the Most Wicked American Criminals

 1 Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson.
20
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: June 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S

A former professional boxer who reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion for three years, Mike Tyson is considered a colossal figure in boxing. Claiming his first heavyweight title at the young age of 20, he went on to become one of the best heavyweights of all time. Also a controversial person, he was once imprisoned on rape charges.

 2 Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy.
29
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: November 24, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Burlington
Died: January 24, 1989

Ted Bundy was an American serial killer who kidnapped, raped and murdered a number of women and girls during the mid and late 1970s. He ultimately confessed to his crimes and was sentenced to death by electric chair. Later, the life of one of the most notorious criminals of the late 20th century inspired a number of books and movies.

 3 Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur.
42
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: June 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: September 13, 1996

Tupac Amaru Shakur, popularly known as 2Pac or Makaveli, is considered as one of the greatest American rappers of all time. Talent and trouble went hand in hand in Shakur’s journey to fame; the higher Shakur rose in his iconic status, the deeper he became entangled in gang violence and an infamous rivalry, which sadly led to his untimely demise.

 4 D. B. Cooper

D. B. Cooper.
4
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: United States
Died: November 24, 1971

D. B. Cooper is a media epithet for an unidentified man, who in 1971 hijacked a Boeing aircraft for four parachutes and $200,000. On receiving the ransom, he released the passengers; but forced the pilot to fly towards Mexico City, jumping off the plane with the $200,000 somewhere between Seattle and Reno. Nothing has been found about him since then.

 5 Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar.
10
Famous As: Doctor
Birthdate: August 16, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Farmington Hills, Michigan, United States

A convicted sex offender, Larry Nassar was once the USA Gymnastics national team doctor. He is a former professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. At least 250 young women and girls have accused him of sexual assault. He is currently in prison on charges of sexual assault of minors and child pornography.

 6 Charles Manson

Charles Manson.
13
Famous As: Criminal and Murderer
Birthdate: November 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: November 19, 2017

Criminal and cult leader Charles Manson was the leader of the notorious Manson Family, a criminal cult that committed a series of murders in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was arrested and imprisoned many times in his life and died in 2017 while serving his life sentence at California State Prison.

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 7 Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer.
33
Famous As: Serial Killer, Sex Offender
Birthdate: May 21, 1960
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: West Allis, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died: November 28, 1994

One of the most notorious serial killers ever convicted in America, Jeffrey Dahmer terrorized the Milwaukee region in the 1980s. He targeted young men and boys, who he would lure to his house on some pretext before torturing and killing them. Finally arrested and imprisoned in the early 1990s, he was killed by a fellow inmate in 1994.

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 8 Bobby Joe Long

Bobby Joe Long.
11
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: October 14, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kenova, West Virginia, United States
Died: May 23, 2019

Bobby Joe Long was an American rapist and serial killer who kidnapped, raped, and killed at least 10 women in Florida in 1984. The information provided by one of his last victims named Lisa McVey, whom he had released after raping over a period of 26 hours, helped the police to track him down. He was sentenced to death.

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 9 Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes
29
Famous As: Business Woman
Birthdate: February 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Elizabeth Holmes is a former businesswoman who is credited with founding the now-defunct health technology company Theranos . It was later revealed that Elizabeth Holmes had deceived her investors with false claims. The rise and fall of her company inspired a book titled Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.

 10 John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy.
21
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: March 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 10, 1994

John Wayne Gacy was a sex offender and a serial killer. He assaulted, raped and murdered at least 33 boys and young men in 1960s and 1970s. He tortured and killed all his victims inside his ranch house near Norridge, a village in Norwood Park. He was given death sentence in March 1980 and was executed in May 1994.

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 11 Zodiac Killer

Zodiac Killer.
6
Famous As: Serial killer
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: United States

Zodiac Killer was an the unidentified American serial killer who spread terror in the northern California from late 1960s to early 1970s. In his letters to police and press, he claimed to have killed 37 people, out of which five were confirmed. Though he was never caught, his case inspired numerous books, films and television series including Clint Eastwood’s classic Dirty Harry.

 12 Al Capone

Al Capone.
9
Famous As: Gangster
Birthdate: January 17, 1899
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: January 25, 1947

Al Capone, also known by the nickname Scarface, was one of the most notorious American gangsters who controlled the organised crime in Chicago between 1925 and 1931. He was known for violence and cruelty in eliminating rival gang members, the most infamous incident being the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. His life inspired numerous books and films.

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 13 Ted Kaczynski

Ted Kaczynski.
26
Famous As: Terrorist, Anarchist
Birthdate: May 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago

From a brilliant mathematician and an assistant professor at University of California, Theodore Kaczynski became the notorious American criminal—Unabomber—who was responsible for mail bombs that killed three people and injured 23 in eighteen years. He was eventually caught and sentenced to life imprisonment after his anti-technology essay sent to the media was recognised by his brother.

 14 Richard Ramirez

Richard Ramirez.
53
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: February 29, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, United States
Died: June 7, 2013

American serial killer, rapist, and burglar, Richard Ramirez terrorised the people of California, primarily Los Angeles, between 1984 and 1985 before being eventually captured by the police. The brutal criminal, also known as Night Stalker, was finally found guilty of 43 charges, including 13 murders and was sentenced to death. While on a death row, he died of cancer. 

 15 Bonnie Parker

Bonnie Parker
8
Famous As: Thief
Birthdate: October 1, 1910
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rowena, Texas, United States
Died: May 23, 1934

Best known as part of the legendary criminal couple Bonnie and Clyde, Bonnie Parker was infamous for her bank robberies with her partner Clyde Chestnut Barrow. They apparently murdered several policemen, too. Their crimes were romanticized in many movies including a 1967 film starring Faye Dunaway as Bonnie.

 16 Dennis Rader (BTK Killer)

Dennis Rader (BTK Killer).
11
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: March 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pittsburg, Kansas, U.S.
Dennis Rader, better known as BTK, an abbreviated form of “blind, torture, kill,” is an American serial killer. He murdered 10 people and then sent letters to the police and the media, explaining his crimes. Following a 10-year hiatus, he began sending letters again, leading to his arrest and conviction.

 17 Frank Abagnale

Frank Abagnale.
15
Famous As: Impostor, Fraudster
Birthdate: April 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Rochelle

Frank Abagnale’s life story inspired the film Catch Me If You Can. He was a con man, imposter and did check forgery from the age 15 to 21. He assumed the identities of an airline pilot, a physician and a lawyer, among others. He was eventually arrested and after spending few years in prison started working for the federal government.

 18 David Berkowitz

David Berkowitz.
25
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: June 1, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, U.S.

A convicted serial killer, David Berkowitz is believed to have killed six people and wounded seven others. He eluded the police for several months before being captured. He is currently serving six consecutive life sentences in the maximum-security prison, Shawangunk Correctional Facility. He was popularized by the media under the name “Son of Sam.”

 19 Joseph James DeAngelo

Joseph James DeAngelo.
10
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: November 8, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bath, New York

Joseph James DeAngelo is an American serial killer, rapist and burglar who carried out his crimes for many years in 1970s and 1980s and was finally captured by the police in 2018. The former police officer and auto mechanic, who was known by various names like Golden State Killer and Visalia Ransacker, was sentenced to life in prison in 2020.

 20 John Gotti

John Gotti.
0
Famous As: Mobster & Mafia
Birthdate: October 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, United States
Died: June 10, 2002

John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family, described as America's most powerful crime syndicate. It made millions per year from criminal activities like racketeering, loan sharking, drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion, pornography and illegal gambling. The FBI convicted him in 1992 and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole and later died of throat cancer.

 21 Edmund Kemper

Edmund Kemper.
4
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: December 18, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Burbank, California

Edmund Kemper is a serial killer, rapist and a necrophile. He was charged, convicted and sentenced to eight concurrent life sentences in 1973 for murdering ten people, including his paternal grandparents and mother. Most of his victims were female college students and hitchhikers, whom he lured into his vehicle and then killed them. He later decapitated and violated them.

 22 Rodney Alcala

Rodney Alcala.
7
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: August 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas
Rodney Alcala received a death sentence for five murders in the 1970s, and 25 years for two more murders. Known as “The Dating Game Killer” for his appearance on the show The Dating Game in the middle of the murders, Alcala also collected explicit photos of his victims.

 23 Gary Ridgway

Gary Ridgway.
7
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: February 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Nicknamed “the Green River Killer,” Gary Ridgway is a serial killer convicted of killing 49 women by driving them to remote locations, strangling them, and then disposing of their bodies in the Green River. DNA technology helped the police nab him. He had served in the Vietnam War earlier.

 24 Ed Gein

Ed Gein.
8
Famous As: Murderer
Birthdate: August 27, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States
Died: July 26, 1984

Popularly known as the Butcher of Plainfield, Ed Gein was a murderer and body snatcher. His spine-chilling life insane acts like exhuming corpses and making keepsakes and trophies from their skin and bones, inspired films like The Silence of the Lambs, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Psycho.

 25 Lee Harvey Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald.
9
Famous As: Armed force officer
Birthdate: October 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died: November 24, 1963

Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for killing Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. Further investigation suggested that he had murdered US President John F. Kennedy about 45 minutes before murdering Tippit. Though he denied the accusations, he was charged with the murder of Kennedy. While in police custody, Oswald was shot dead by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner.

 26 Robert Durst

Robert Durst.
4
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: April 12, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York,City New York

Robert Durst is a real estate heir and suspected killer of three people, including his first wife Kathleen McCormack Durst and longtime friend Susan Berman. The events surrounding Durst's trial have inspired films and TV series like All Good Things and The Jinx. His life also inspired the book A Deadly Secret, which was later adapted into a TV film.

 27 Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger.
4
Famous As: American convicted murderer and former organized crime figure
Birthdate: September 3, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dorchester

Whitey Bulger was an Irish-American FBI informant and organized crime boss. His arrest and subsequent trial exposed FBI handler John Connolly who had helped Bulger in return for the latter's information about the Patriarca crime family. Bulger's life and work inspired the 2015 film Black Mass. Many fictional TV and film characters have also been inspired by Whitey Bulger.

 28 Gypsy Rose Blanchard

Gypsy Rose Blanchard.
22
Famous As: Murderer
Birthdate: July 27, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Louisiana
Gypsy Rose Blanchard came in the public eye after she teamed up with her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, to murder her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard. Dee Dee was suffering from Munchausen syndrome, which made her create an illusion that Gypsy suffered from several chronic illnesses, whereas Gypsy was a normal child.

 29 Andrew Cunanan

Andrew Cunanan.
13
Famous As: Serial killer
Birthdate: August 31, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: National City, California, United States
Died: July 23, 1997

Andrew Cunanan was an American spree killer who killed five people, including world-renowned fashion designer Gianni Versace and business tycoon Lee Miglin, during a three-month period. The motive behind the killings remains unknown as he killed himself shortly after the murders. His story has inspired several films and TV series, including the 1998 movie The Versace Murder.

 30 Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos.
13
Famous As: Serial killer
Birthdate: February 29, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Troy, Michigan, United States
Died: October 9, 2002

Sexually and physically assaulted by her own grandfather during her childhood and teenage years, Aileen Wuornos took to prostitution to support herself. From becoming pregnant at age 14 to engaging in sexual activities in exchange for drugs, Aileen's early life played a major role in turning her into a serial killer. Her story eventually became quite famous in popular culture.

 31 Yolanda Saldívar

Yolanda Saldívar.
24
Famous As: Murder Convict
Birthdate: September 19, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Yolanda Saldívar is serving a sentence for the murder of Latin pop star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in March 1995. Yolanda managed Selena’s fan club and fashion boutiques and was fired for embezzling money from both. When Selena confronted her, Yolanda refused to submit the financial records and shot her to death.

 32 Tex Watson

Tex Watson
1
Famous As: Murderer
Birthdate: December 2, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Farmersville, Texas, United States

 33 Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff.
15
Famous As: Stockbroker, Fraudster
Birthdate: April 29, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, New York

 34 Jared Fogle

Jared Fogle
9
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 23, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

 35 Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid.
5
Famous As: Gunman
Birthdate: November 17, 1859
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manhattan
Died: July 14, 1881

Billy the Kid was a gunfighter of the American Old West whose notoriety grew when he escaped from jail after killing two sheriff's deputies. He remains one of the most notorious personalities of the American Old West, whose life has been often dramatized in popular culture. His story has inspired over 50 films, including Billy the Kid, and The Outlaw.

 36 Mark David Chapman

Mark David Chapman.
14
Famous As: Killer of John Lennon
Birthdate: May 10, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas

Mark David Chapman gained notoriety after murdering popular English singer-songwriter, John Lennon, of Beatles. A fan of the Beatles, Chapman said he was frustrated with Lennon's public statements and lifestyle. He even admitted that he contemplated murdering Paul McCartney, Ronald Reagan, and Johnny Carson. His story formed the bases of films like Chapter 27 and The Killing of John Lennon.

 37 Susan Atkins

Susan Atkins.
5
Famous As: Murderer
Birthdate: May 7, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Gabriel, California
Died: September 24, 2009

Susan Atkins was an American murderer who was convicted for participating in eight killings, including the infamous Tate murders, carried out by members of the Manson Family. Sentenced to life imprisonment, Atkins was the longest-serving female inmate in California history at the time of her death. 

 38 Otto Warmbier

Otto Warmbier
9
Famous As: Criminals
Birthdate: December 12, 1994
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Died: June 19, 2017

 39 Eric Harris

Eric Harris
9
Famous As: Murderer
Birthdate: April 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Died: April 20, 1999

 40 Sammy Gravano

Sammy Gravano.
1
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: March 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
Sammy Gravano, also known as “Sammy the Bull,” was initially part of the Colombo crime family and later the underboss of the Gambino crime family. He became a government witness against John Gotti, the Gambino family boss. He was also involved in the murder of Gambino boss Paul Castellano.

 41 Larry Hoover

Larry Hoover.
2
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: November 25, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jackson, Mississippi, United States
Gang leader Larry Hoover, also known as King Larry, established the Chicago street gang known as the Gangster Disciples. He later named the gang Growth and Development and focused on community service. He is currently in prison, serving six life sentences, including one for a murder committed in 1973. 

 42 Frank Lucas

Frank Lucas.
2
Famous As: Drug Trafficker
Birthdate: September 9, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: La Grange, North Carolina, United States
Died: May 30, 2019
Frank Lucas was a notorious drug trafficker from the 1960s and the 1970s. Legends state that he bought drugs from the "Golden Triangle" and smuggled them into the U.S. using the coffins of servicemen. His 70-year prison sentence was commuted to a 5-year sentence, after he became an informant.

 43 Jesse James

Jesse James.
3
Famous As: American Outlaw & Gang Leader
Birthdate: September 5, 1847
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kearney
Died: April 3, 1882
Jesse James was an outlaw from Missouri, who robbed trains, stagecoaches, and banks. He was also a guerrilla and led the James–Younger Gang. Along with his brother Frank, he joined pro-Confederate “bushwhackers” during the American Civil War. James became a legendary Wild West figure after his death.

 44 Timothy McVeigh

Timothy McVeigh.
4
Famous As: Terrorist
Birthdate: April 23, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lockport,New York
Died: June 11, 2001

A Gulf War veteran, Timothy McVeigh made headlines after carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. He defended his actions saying that he wanted to inspire a revolution against what he considered a tyrannical government. The bombing remains the most malignant act of domestic terrorism in American history. He was executed by lethal injection in 2001.

 45 Henry Hill

Henry Hill.
3
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: June 11, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
Died: June 12, 2012
Henry Hill was a mobster from New York’s Lucchese crime family, who later testified against his former associates. His life inspired the book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family and the film Goodfellas. He was associated with crimes such as gambling, drug trafficking, and high-profile robberies at the JFK Airport.

 46 Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli.
3
Famous As: Executive
Birthdate: March 17, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Martin Shkreli, founder and former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, received a 7-year prison sentence for securities fraud after he secured the manufacturing license for Daraprim and raised its price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He had bought the only copy of the album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

 47 John Hinckley Jr.

John Hinckley Jr..
3
Birthdate: May 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ardmore, Oklahoma, United States
Obsessed with actor Jodie Foster, John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan to impress her. Reagan survived the attack. Hinckley was sent to psychiatric care, after being found not guilty, due to insanity. Public outrage over the incident led to the passage of the Insanity Defense Reform Act.

 48 Albert Fish

Albert Fish.
5
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: May 19, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: January 16, 1936

Albert Fish was an American cannibal, child rapist, and serial killer. Fish confessed to three murders out of the five murders for which he was suspected. However, he claimed to have victimized about 100 people and boasted of having children in every state. His crimes and the subsequent execution by electric chair were dramatized in the film The Gray Man.

 49 H. H. Holmes

H. H. Holmes.
11
Famous As: Serial Killer
Birthdate: May 16, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gilmanton, New Hampshire, U.S.
Died: 1896 AD
American serial killer H.H. Holmes was sentenced to death for the murder of his accomplice Benjamin Pitezel but confessed to 27 murders and might have killed almost 200 people. He had set up a hotel, later known as the Murder Castle, specifically for this purpose. He inspired a bestselling book.

 50 Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof
6
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: April 3, 1994
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Columbia, South Carolina, USA