Top 10 People Who Used Their Criminal Skills For Good, It Happens

It is not because chance has endowed us with a particular gift that is used in the middle of crime that we are doomed to be a criminal all our life. Several stories of robbers who have tipped over to the other side of justice prove it to us, and it is quite interesting to see how some of them have used their talents to corner others and redeem themselves from conduct by the same occasion.

1. Frank Abagnale, the crook who ended up in the FBI fighting fraud

No need to remind you of the whole story of Frank Abagnale which you can see partly fictionalized in the film Stop me if you can but to put it simply, the gentleman began to defraud a lot of people from his adolescence, pretending to be a pilot, lawyer or doctor and cashing fake checks that he made himself. Following his arrest and a stint in prison, he became an expert in the fight against fraud by helping the FBI and subsequently creating his own company. All his talent as a crook therefore helped him to fight others, and that’s fine. (Don’t you think he looks like my uncle in the photo? I’m shocked)

2. The Yakuza who helped the Japanese population after an earthquake

Following a major earthquake in Japan in 2011 which claimed the lives of nearly 20,000 people, many members of the Yakuza mafia association came to the aid of the population. They had a fairly large and very complete stock of food to spin: food, water, medicine or even clothing that they sent to certain emergency centers without asking for compensation. The adjective “amazing” is de rigueur on this information.

3. Mafioso Michael Franzese who opened a foundation to help young people

After being the head of the Colombo family for many years and finding his place among the city’s wealthiest mobsters (and having an actor who portrays him in Freedmen), Franzese was arrested and sent to ten years behind bars. On leaving, rather than resuming his old occupations, he created the “Breaking Out Foundation”, a reception and assistance center to support young people and prevent them from making bad choices. He wrote a book along these lines and toured universities across the country lecturing on the importance of making the right choices in life.

4. Lucky Luciano: the mobster who helped America during WWII

Who better than a New York mobster can claim the role of port surveillance? Obviously not many people since the police called on this mobster at the time behind bars to monitor with the help of his henchmen what was happening on the port and the docks of New Jersey and New York. But Luciano was a zealous man and he also agreed to help the allies across the Atlantic regain ground in Sicily by guiding them from a distance through his memory of his homeland. And it is because he agreed to put the know-how of his criminal organization to the benefit of the country that he had his sentence reduced and released from prison.

Top 10 People Who Used Their Criminal Skills For Good
Photo credits (Public Domain): New York Police Department. Original uploader was Hephaestos at en.wikipedia

5. The Gregory Scarpa affair: a mobster against the Klu Klux Klan

Surprisingly enough: in 1964 the FBI struggled to find the culprits of the disappearance of three people in Mississippi. So they hired Gregory Scarpa, a mobster who worked as a henchman for the Colombo family and who was not known to use his hands to make lace doilies. Colombo therefore interrogated in a way that the Bible and morality reprove several members of the KKK and obtained rather satisfactory results. That’s exactly why the FBI had hired him, his agents couldn’t show so much “freedom” during his interrogations. The crime was confessed, the culprits arrested and Scarpa returned to work quietly for the Colombos.

6. Pablo Escobar built schools and roads

So be careful, the idea is not to say that the guy was super nice since he had a lot of blood on his hands. However, we cannot reproach him for having on several occasions helped the inhabitants of Colombia by throwing millions to bring drinking water to certain remote regions, to install roads, to build schools to educate young people, to provide social cover for the poorer and safeguard the state of certain churches. So yes, you’re going to tell me it was drug money, but it was well used, unlike the money stolen from the colonies by some countries which only helped to enrich a whole bunch of motherfuckers. It was my rant.

7. The car thief who broke into the van of terrorists

In 2008 in the middle of Brooklyn, a car thief forced open the doors of a van parked in the street to steal it, only when entering the vehicle he realized that there were several bombs inside. Aware that they had to be activated remotely he exercised composure and moved the vehicle to the docks to avoid injuring civilians if things went wrong and contacted the police. Thanks to him, the police found the terrorist in question and were able to arrest him. The story does not say what became of the famous thief, but I like to think that he became a pastry chef.

8. Danny Trejo’s rocky journey

If you know his pretty little face today as an actor, know that Danny Trejo had a rather bad start in life: addicted to heroin and fired from his school for having violently attacked another student (by disfiguring him) he went through the prison box several times. His last release from penitentiary center was however the good one since he stopped drugs and embarked on a career as a counselor in recovery against drug addiction. It was while accompanying a filming employee that he showed up one day on the set of Runaway Train and that we spotted his atypical face to make him play a small role. A few years later he was in Spy Kids (yeah it’s not his best movie) and that’s what we call making a turn in his life.

Top 10 People Who Used Their Criminal Skills For Good
Photo credits (CC BY-SA 2.0): Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America

9. Former burglars who give advice on how to protect yourself from burglars

It may seem a little counterproductive like that, but there are many examples where former aces in the field of burglary have repented and given advice on not being robbed. On the program balance a broom on your door, position clearly visible surveillance cameras and avoid the signs “beware of the dog” because in burglar language that means “be careful, we have a lot of money in this house”. In short, they know the buggers.

10. Han van Meegeren, the forger who tricked the Nazis

During his trial (where he faced the death penalty for selling paintings belonging to the Netherlands to the Nazis during World War II), Meegeren bluffed everyone in the courtroom by declaring that the paintings sold were false and that he had painted them himself in order to fool the Nazis. Well, he did it partly to make money, but by ripping off the Nazis, you could say that makes him a kind of resistance fighter and one of the smartest tricksters in history.

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