Highest Paying Illegal Jobs

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The old saying is “crime doesn’t pay,” may not necessarily be true. For many people all over globe a life of criminal activity does actually pay, sometimes very well. Here are the ten highest paying illegal jobs in the world.

Organized Crime Hacking

Source: blogspot

Digital crimes such as hacking can have quite a nice pay day. Organized crime, once predominately associated with violence and murder, has evolved into a much cleaner form of illegal activity. Replicating debit cards, and hacking into unsuspecting victim’s bank accounts has become a favorite form of activity with organized crime rings such as The Russian Mafia, which successfully stole $9 million dollars this way in 2008.

Drug Lords

drug lord
Source: blogspot

Drug cartel job opportunities are a very real career option in many countries in South America, but how much can a higher up make in a notable drug cartel? The numbers are astronomical but infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar was reportedly worth $30 billion dollars.


Source: alvafirm

Closely related to the drug lords, are their means of transportation: the smuggler. Smugglers are in charge of transporting drugs from one point to another, generally from Cuba or South America to the United States. Plan smugglers can look to make millions of dollars a trip, further down the totem are boat captains, and last but not least, mules, kids on foot or in vehicles carrying marijuana over the U.S. Mexican border, who still make thousands of dollars an hour.

Ponzi Schemer

Source: businesspundit

For those not interested in the violence and risk involved in drug dealing or smuggling, white collar crimes such as Ponzi schemes may be more your speed. A Ponzi investor will basically take investment money from one group of people, then use investment money from another group to pay them their dividends. It’s important to keep generating more investment money to keep the first, second, and third group thinking their investments are earning them something. If timed just right, before the first set of victims catches on to what is happening, the schemer can disappear to his own tropical island.


Source: clusopi

Looking for a truly, boring lucrative form of crime? Embezzlement is one of the few crimes that has its own figure head. The embezzler profile, established by the investigation firm Marquet International, is so repetitive that they have named the profile type, Evelyn. She is in her mid 40s, works as a bookkeeper in a boring, profitable industry. In most cases, “Evelyn” can embezzle up to $800,000 before she is ever caught.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

Source: trendhunterstatic

Although probably falling faster out of fashion than drug trafficking, illegal wildlife trade is still rated a pretty profitable position in the list of lucrative crimes. Currently the black market for illegal animal products stands at about $10 billion dollars a year.

Counterfeit Medications

Source: onlinepharmacyforum

One of the most dangerous crimes for innocent victims, counterfeit medication production accounts for about $1.6 billion a year on the Asian black market, and it results in death of patients needing the medication to counteract serious medical conditions.

Weapons Trafficking

guns, man
Source: centralasiaonline

Pretty much anything that the common population is not supposed to have, can be turned into a lucrative crime opportunity, including weapons. Weapons trafficking accounts for $1 billion a year on the black market each year. This is especially true of illegal weapons that have been outlawed in particular countries.

Natural Resource Trafficking

Source: jameswasserman

In some of the more remote areas on the globe, stealing something such as timber, can become a lucrative criminal activity. Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia are especially susceptible to natural resource trafficking and accounts for $7 billion in criminal revenue.


Source: pokerknave

Procurer is the fancy name for “pimp” or “madam.” One who arranges for sex workers and clients to set up their appointments? For part of the cost the procurer does the foot work so others can do the dirty work.