CNBC’s American Greed examines the very dark side of the All American Dream, demonstrating the lengths that some people are willing to go to in order to get the loot. Now in its 13th season, the episodes are as deranged now as they were at the outset. Sex, murder, drugs and even a dodgy dentist, this show really has it all. Narrated by award-winning stage, screen and television actor Stacy Keach we take you through the craziest episodes of arguably the craziest show on our screens.
The Craziest Episodes of ‘American Greed’, Ranked
Real Cases, Real People, Real F*cked Up
5. Clean Teeth, Dirty Laundry (S11, EP5)
Cost of crime - $400,000+
In 2009, Dr. Gary Kimmel, a well respected Chicago dentist, went to prison after pleading guilty to laundering money for a Detroit pimp who used Kimmel’s apartment, cars, and dental office.
In addition to renting apartments to pimps to allow prostitutes (which often included minors) to have a space to carry out their ‘services’, Kimmel also bought them flashy luxury cars, using prostitution money to make the payments. And in one instance, he did dental work on a prostitute after her pimp knocked out her teeth. Kimmel's payment for the work—sexual services from another prostitute for an elderly friend of his.
The investigation against Kimmel began, for the darkest of reasons, with federal agents pursuing a child prostitution case in Hawaii which, ultimately, led to the discovery that Kimmel was heavily involved with these pimps.
Kimmel was sentenced in 2009 to just three years and a month on one count of money laundering.
4. Blood Relatives; End of Life Scam (S12, EP7)
Cost of crime - $85,000+
In October 2014, three bodies were found shot dead in a small Oklahoma town. Those bodies were three out of four members of the Hruby family. The Hruby’s, comprising parents John and Joy as well as children Katherine and Alan.
Eyebrows were raised as the only body missing was Alan’s. Alan, a peculiar young man, had recently drawn unwanted attention to his family as he developed an unhealthy obsession for designer clothing. Refusing to be seen in anything that didn’t have a label on it, the Hruby parents began questioning Alan on where he was getting the money to fund his new found ‘interest’.
Here is where things really start to go down. It transpires that Alan was actually stealing from his own grandmother with dementia, walking her to ATMs and making her withdraw cash. If you didn’t think that was bad enough, Alan, when questioned by police, admits to killing his entire family in a bid to get access to a one million dollar trust fund set up by his parents so he could continue to feed his addiction to designer clothing.
Alan is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his mother, father and sister.
3. The Most Hated Man In America (S12, EP1)
Cost of crime - $10,000,000
Martin Shkreli takes the number three spot and for good reason, this man dubbed ‘the most hated man in America’ raised the price of a life-saving drug 5,000%, from $13.50 to $750 a pill. The drug, benefitting arguably the most vulnerable people on Earth, babies, pregnant women and HIV patients.
What lead to Shkreli’s arrest, surprisingly, had nothing to do with the price hike but the fact that he repeatedly lost money for investors in two hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare and tried lying to them about it and attempted to manipulate the stock price of Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company he founded. Shkreli raised millions of dollars for MSMB Capital, but not as much as he told investors. When he made a bad bet that doomed the hedge fund, he launched a scheme to cover it up, it failed.
Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted on three of eight counts, concluding that he had lied to investors about, among other things, how the hedge funds were managed, what they invested in and how much money they had.
2. 9/11 Fraud - The Ripoff (9/11 Special)
Cost of crime - $248,000
You really have to be an earnestly vile specimen to try to make bank off of the victims of one of the worst terrorist attacks of all time. But that’s exactly what happened in this 9/11 special of American Greed.
This episode follows the story of Jamie, the widow of fallen NYPD police officer Christopher Amoroso, who was killed in the attacks. Having received $2 million dollars in compensation from the 9/11 victims fund, Amoroso’s wife was approached by a broker, Kevin Dunn, who was also a trusted family ‘friend’.
Forging her signature to create a joint account, Dunn stole over $248,000 from the widower. Prosecutors alleged Dunn used the money he took from Ms. Amoroso to remodel his home, buy a Florida condominium and support a drug habit.
Pleading guilty, Dunn was sentenced to 4 years in prison for his crime against Jamie and ordered to pay back all of the stolen money.
1. Madoff Behind Bars (Madoff Special)
Cost of crime - $65,000,000,000
A $65 billion dollar fraud, copious shattered lives and a 150-year sentence puts Bernie Madoff, the mastermind behind the biggest Ponzi scheme in American history, firmly in the number one spot.
The former NASDAQ chairman and founder of the Wall Street penny brokerage firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC fooled investors by setting up his portfolios to look like he was matching the returns of the S&P 500. After more than a decade of hoaxing the SEC and his investors, Madoff realized he was in over his head and confessed to his sons, who were partners in business.
Mark and Andrew Madoff turned their father into the FBI, putting an end to the scheme. The destruction he caused led to a domino effect that affected everyone he ever worked with. After his plot fell apart, investors realized they had lost billions of dollars. Some former employees and associates were investigated or arrested for their involvement and at least three committed suicide, including Madoff’s oldest son Mark.
Madoff is serving his 150-year sentence in a federal prison in North Carolina.