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The most famous criminals in the world bought luxury homes in the United States: what look like mansions

Many mafia dons, scammers, drug lords and dictators in the United States owned luxurious mansions with excellent finishes. Author foreign real estate blog on Yandex.Zen compiled a list of notorious estates acquired through criminal proceeds.

Photo: Shutterstock

Charles Ponzi House in Massachusetts

Charles Ponzi is the man who built pyramid schemes and perfected the fraudulent investment scheme that now bears his name. Ponzi bought a beautiful Colonial Revival-style home located in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1920 just months before he was arrested and charged with 86 IOUs fraud. At the time of the purchase of the property, Ponzi was receiving just over $ 250 a day from his fraudulent activities, which is the equivalent of $ 000 million in today's money.

This massive income allowed the crook to hire servants, including a butler and a cook, and spend money on all kinds of luxuries, from silk damask wallpaper to air conditioning and a heated pool. Unfortunately for him, Ponzi was unable to enjoy the wealth of his home as he was sent to prison for 14 years.

The mansion was then bought by a well-known lawyer who owned it for 70 years. The five-bathroom, seven-bedroom house, which was last sold in 2015 for $ 2,5 million, has since been remodeled, but many of the original elements from Ponzi’s real estate have been preserved, including cornices, moldings and original zinc sinks in the room butler.

The elegant dining room with its huge dining table, royal wallpaper and chandeliers probably looked the same in 1920, when Ponzi himself lived in the mansion. Luxury real estate includes a carriage house and almost 40 acres of beautiful gardens.

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Ponzi, after his release, continued to engage in financial fraud and was deported to his homeland, in Italy. Then, under the patronage of Benito Mussolini, he worked as a representative of Italian Airlines in Brazil and died in 1949 in a charity department of a hospital in Rio de Janeiro from cerebral hemorrhage, leaving behind $ 75, for which he was buried.

Bernie Madoff Beach House in Hampton

Bernie Madoff tricked 4 customers into a staggering $ 800 billion by committing the largest financial fraud in US history. He turned the world's largest Ponzi scheme, creating a grandiose financial pyramid. A fraudster from New York was imprisoned in 64,8 for 2009 years, but before his arrest Madoff was able to accumulate an impressive portfolio of real estate, including a penthouse in Manhattan and a magnificent beach house in Hampton.

By 2009, when it was sold by American marshals, the house, although it remained very expensive, was dilapidated and was described by a local real estate agent as a "landfill of the 1980s in a fabulous place." The new owners, Vornado Realty Trust CEO Stephen Roth and his wife, Tony Award producer Daryl Roth, acquired the mansion for $ 9,4 million and soon began renovating it.

The couple hired the famous architect Thierry Despont to oversee the reconstruction of a 278-square-meter home. meters. Now it has three bedrooms and the same number of bathrooms. The Despont largely changed the interior of the house and even went so far as to create a large double-height room, and also moved the front door from the second floor to the first.

Other distinctive features of the refurbished building include a huge stone fireplace, smart home system and a stunning swimming pool. Naturally, this property is now worth significantly more than the Roths paid for it in 2010 - it is currently on sale for $ 19,9 million.

Florida Al Capone Villa

In the midst of his power, in 1928, Chicago gangster Al Capone bought an impressive villa on the island of Palm Island, in the South Beach area of ​​Miami, to have a place to relax from the bustling city. Possessing large sums of money received from bootlegging, Capone spent almost a million dollars on this property.

With so many enemies that Capone had, for obvious reasons, he became paranoid when it came to security. It is reported that he spent almost $ 200 thousand on additional protection measures for an amazing estate, the cost of which today (including inflation) is about $ 3 million. These measures included the construction of a wall with spotlights more than two meters high, as well as guards .

In May 1929, Capone was imprisoned for nine months after being captured with an unregistered weapon. Then in 1931, he again thundered behind bars for seven years - on charges of tax evasion. Capone was released from the famous Alcatraz prison in 1939. Seriously ill with late stage syphilis, he spent the last years of his life in a Miami mansion with his wife May, where he died in 1947.

May Capone sold four-bedroom property in 1952. After a large-scale reconstruction, it was introduced to the market in 2018 for $ 14,9 million. In the former shelter of the mafia boss, some features of Art Deco, including original tiles, were preserved.

Vincent Palermo's refuge in Houston

The character Tony Soprano in the award-winning HBO series The Sopranos was rumored to be based on FBI informant Vincent Palermo, who was the de facto boss of New Jersey crime family DeCavalcante. After collaborating with law enforcement, Palermo fell under a witness protection program and relocated to a secure mansion in Houston under the pseudonym Vincent Cabella in 2003.

This real palace, a five-bedroom property, is fantastically beautiful. The mansion is surrounded by lush gardens, among which are a richly decorated fountain and pool. The house impresses with many elements of luxury, from marble floors and columns to exquisite finishes. The main hall boasts crystal chandeliers, expensive antique furniture, Murano glass mirrors, chic rugs and a magnificent piano.

Palermo, of course, did not spare money, when it came to decorating his shelter, the atmosphere of ostentatious luxury is especially striking in the bedrooms. The master bedroom has a mahogany canopy bed, an exquisite chandelier and a marble fireplace, which must have cost one fortune.

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The splendid mansion even has a spacious home theater, perfect for watching all of the Sopranos episodes. This Palermo location was revealed in 2009, and a few weeks after that he put the mansion up for sale with an asking price of $ 4 million. However, there was no buyer for such a specific property. The house was sold only in 2015 for $ 2,9 million.

Tony Accardo Residence in River Forest

Tony Accardo, nicknamed Joe Butters and Big Tuna, became the boss of the Chicago Mafia in 1972, once it was headed by Al Capone himself. Before he climbed to the top of the mafia hierarchy, the gangster lived in a chic mansion in River Forest, a suburb of Chicago.

The house with beautiful parquet floors, elegant finishes and high-quality brick fireplaces has all the attributes necessary to match the level of residence of the mafia leader. In addition to several truly royal reception rooms and bedrooms, the mansion has a library, a cedar spa, a large garage for three cars and a magnificent pool.

The life of the mafia boss is difficult and dangerous. When robbers once entered his home, Accardo sold this property with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. He first moved to an apartment in the same area, and then to his daughter-in-law's house in Barrington Hills, Illinois. There he died of respiratory and heart failure in 1992.

The mansion in River Forest was bought in 1983 by an anonymous buyer who in 2017 put up real estate for sale for $ 2,3 million. The house stood on the market for a long time and after a series of price cuts it was sold for $ 1,1 million, which is much lower than the cost. which the owner hoped to receive.

Los Angeles Mansion Joe Lowe

In 2012, Malaysian businessman Joe Lowe, who funded the production of The Wall Street Wolf, spent $ 39 million on this luxurious, modern mansion located in the Hollywood Hills area of ​​Los Angeles. Soon after, he left the country, leaving his new home empty. Lowe, who is still on the run, is wanted by the FBI for his alleged involvement in the multi-billion dollar corruption scandal in Malaysia.

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According to the indictment, Lowe is charged with laundering billions of dollars of illicit proceeds. After he fled the country, the federal authorities confiscated the mansion and it was put up for sale. Property with six bedrooms and seven bathrooms was ultimately sold last year for $ 18,5 million, significantly lower than the originally requested price ($ 24,5 million) and less than half the amount Low paid for the mansion in 2012.

Built in the 1980s as a party house, it was completely rebuilt by lead developer Neil Niami and turned into a glass mega-house with an area of ​​1 square meters, with spacious living quarters, an open plan, floor-to-ceiling windows, a separate guest house and a house for protection.

Oddly enough, Lowe spent the short time that he owned the mansion, dismantling the elements of internal and external decoration, and when the property was put up for sale, most of the work performed by Neil Niami and his team was destroyed. However, the buyer made a good deal and probably intends to make a profit the next time the house is sold again.

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