American Fraudsters

Rank the Most Wicked American Fraudsters

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

 1 
Jordan Belfort
(Author of 'The Wolf of Wall Street')
Jordan Belfort
58
Birthdate: July 9, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
The former stock broker, who was convicted for stock-market manipulation and cheating several investors, Jordan Belfort spent 22 months in prison before he was released and altered his way of living. Using his life experiences, he became a motivational speaker and also authored two memoirs, one of which, The Wolf of Wall Street, was adapted into an award winning film.
 2 
H. H. Holmes
(American Serial Killer and Con Artist)
H. H. Holmes
84
Birthdate: May 16, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gilmanton, New Hampshire, United States
Died: May 7, 1896
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.
 3 
Frank Abagnale
(Impostor, Fraudster)
Frank Abagnale
63
Birthdate: April 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bronxville, New York, United States

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.

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 4 
Ross Ulbricht
(Drug Trafficker)
Ross Ulbricht
33
Birthdate: March 27, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Austin, Texas
Ross Ulbricht, or "Dread Pirate Roberts,” created the dark market site Silk Road, which let people make anonymous drug deals, using bitcoins. He was eventually convicted of a number of crimes, including hacking and money laundering, and was sentenced to a double life imprisonment plus 40 years without parole.
 5 
Arnold Rothstein
(Racketeer)
Arnold Rothstein
12
Birthdate: January 17, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: nhattan, New York City, New York
Died: November 6, 1928

Arnold Rothstein, or the Brain, was a racketeer, gambler, and businessman who later became a leader of New York’s Jewish crime circuit. He had reportedly fixed the 1919 World Series. He inspired several fictional characters, including Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby. He was murdered for declining a poker-related payment.

 6 
Charles Ponzi
(Con Artist)
Charles Ponzi
10
Birthdate: March 3, 1882
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lugo, Italy
Died: January 18, 1949

Charles Ponzi was an Italian con artist and swindler who operated in Canada and the USA. He is best remembered for his money-making scheme in which he paid his earlier investors using the money given to him by later investors. Although this type of swindling investment scheme existed before Ponzi's time, it came to be known as a Ponzi scheme.

 7 
William M. Tweed
(Member of the New York Senate from 1868 to 1873)
William M. Tweed
2
Birthdate: April 3, 1823
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: April 12, 1878

William M. Tweed was an American politician best known for serving as the boss of Tammany Hall, which had a major influence on the political scene of 19th-century New York State. He was later convicted for stealing millions of dollars from New York City taxpayers. His life and career inspired several films, such as Up in Central Park and Liberty.

 8 
Danny Porush
(Fraudster)
Danny Porush
7
Birthdate: 1957
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lawrence, New York

Entrepreneur and former stock broker Daniel Mark Porush, better known as Danny Porush, was convicted of fraud and money laundering at Stratton Oakmont, a brokerage house. Following his 39-month prison sentence, he began working with Med-Care. He inspired the character Donnie Azoff in The Wolf of Wall Street.

 9 
Ryan Leaf
(Retired American Football Player)
Ryan Leaf
7
Birthdate: May 15, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Great Falls, Montana, USA
Height: 6'5" (196 cm)
 10 
Frank DiPascali
(Chief financial officer, Fraudster)
Frank DiPascali
1
Birthdate: October 28, 1956
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States
Died: May 7, 2015
 11 
Andrew Fastow
(Former CFO of Enron)
Andrew Fastow
3
Birthdate: December 22, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA
 12 
Robert L. Vesco
(American financier)
Robert L. Vesco
0
Birthdate: December 4, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: November 23, 2007
 13 
Kirtanananda Swami
(Gaudiya Vaishnava Guru and the Co-founder of New Vrindaban)
Kirtanananda Swami
3
Birthdate: September 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Peekskill, New York, United States
Died: October 24, 2011

Vaishnava guru and New Vrindaban co-founder Kirtanananda Swami, better known as Bhaktipada, was born into a Baptist family. In spite of receiving a fellowship to study at Columbia University, he quit academics and joined ISKCON instead. He was later expelled from ISKCON after he was found guilty of child molestation.

 14 
Barry Minkow
(Former American Businessman, Pastor, and Convicted Felon)
Barry Minkow
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Inglewood, California, United States

Businessman, felon and pastor, Barry Minkow opened his first business while in high school. But faced with fund crunch, he soon resorted to felony, ultimately executing a massive investment fraud, resulting in imprisonment. Later he became a pastor and fraud investigator, concurrently continuing with his illegal dealings, resulting in another confinement and a sentence to pay $612 million in restitution.

 15 
Elizabeth Holmes
(Former CEO of Health Technology Company 'Theranos' Who Was Convicted of Fraud)
Elizabeth Holmes
127
Birthdate: February 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

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.

 16 
Bernard Madoff
(American Hedge-Fund Investment Manager and Fraudster)
Bernard Madoff
44
Birthdate: April 29, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: April 14, 2021
American hedge-fund investment manager Bernard Madoff, who once served as the chairman of NASDAQ, masterminded the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme. Known as the Madoff investment scandal, his fraud affected thousands of investors. He eventually died of chronic kidney disease in prison.
 17 
Farid Fata
(Hematologist)
Farid Fata
1
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Lebanon
 18 
Jeb Stuart Magruder
(Business Person)
Jeb Stuart Magruder
4
Birthdate: November 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York
Died: May 11, 2014
 19 
Paul Manafort
(American Lobbyist and Political Consultant)
Paul Manafort
11
Birthdate: April 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Britain, Connecticut, United States

Paul Manafort is an American former lobbyist, lawyer, political consultant, and convicted bank fraudster. As a political consultant, he served as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush. He is also credited with co-founding a lobbying firm called Black, Manafort & Stone.

 20 
Lou Pearlman
(Record producer)
Lou Pearlman
10
Birthdate: June 19, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Flushing, New York, United States
Died: August 19, 2016

Lou Pearlman was a record producer and creator of successful boy bands like NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. In 2006, Pearlman was accused of running a Ponzi scheme. After pleading guilty to money laundering, conspiracy, and making false statements, Lou Pearlman was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Pearlman was the subject of the 2019 documentary, The Boy Band Con

 21 
Richie Farmer
(Basketball player)
Richie Farmer
1
Birthdate: August 25, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Corbin, Kentucky, United States
 22 
Walter Keane
(Plagiarist)
Walter Keane
5
Birthdate: October 7, 1915
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Died: December 27, 2000
 23 
Allen Stanford
(Financier)
Allen Stanford
3
Birthdate: March 24, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mexia, Texas, United States
 24 
Adam Starchild
(Author)
Adam Starchild
0
Birthdate: September 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Minnesota, United States
Died: September 22, 2006
 25 
James Hart Stern
(Known for defusing gang violence in the 1980s and 1990s, Convicted on five counts of wire fraud)
James Hart Stern
2
Birthdate: June 13, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: October 11, 2019
 26 
Jasiel Correia
(44th Mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts)
Jasiel Correia
3
Birthdate: December 11, 1991
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fall River, Massachusetts, United States
 27 
James McDougal
(Businessman)
James McDougal
4
Birthdate: August 25, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: White County, Arkansas, United States
Died: March 8, 1998
 28 
Rasmea Odeh
(Associate director of the Arab American Action Network, Chicago, Illinois)
Rasmea Odeh
6
Birthdate: 1947 AD
Birthplace: Lifta, British Mandate Palestine