In just 15 years, the 21st Century already has a substantial list of infamous criminals, from the ever eerie serial killers to white collar criminals. Interestingly enough, many of these famous law-breakers became famous because of the circumstances leading up to and following their crimes.
Jeffrey Skilling and Andrew Fastow
Known as the CEO and COO of Enron, these two men created a seemingly unstoppable energy giant in the early 2000s. Together they deceived the company board of directors and hid billions in debt through accounting loopholes and falsified financial reports, along with the use of special purpose entities to hide their doings.
On December 2, 2001, Enron Corporation ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy. Their $63.4 billion in assets made the largest corporate bankruptcy in U. S. history until the similar bankruptcy of WorldCom in 2002.
Jeffrey Skilling received a 24-year prison sentence, with COO Andrew Fastow receiving a 6 years sentence.
On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates drowned all 5 of her children within an hour span after her husband left for work, and before her mother’s arrival. The crime rocked the nation and left an impression for years afterwards. Yates suffered from a severe case of postpartum depression and psychosis, and had attempted suicide multiple times earlier that year.
Convicted of capital murder in 2002, Yates missed the death penalty after her retrial in 2006, where she was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She now resides at a low security state mental hospital in Kerrville, Texas.
Esneda Ruiz Cataño
This Colombian woman nicknamed “La deepredafora” or “The Predator” killed three different husbands for their life insurance money. She seduced her first husband in 2001 after forcing him to obtain a life insurance policy where she was the only beneficiary.
After this gain of $8,445 and a lifetime pension, Cataño had her second husband stabbed in the neck for a similar gain of insurance money. In 2010, her third husband died suspiciously and the insurance company opened an investigation before paying her inheritance of $40,000.
After contacting the police and the succeeding investigation, Cataño was arrested in early 2013.
Also known as the “Suffolk Strangler,” Wright murdered five prostitutes between October 30 and December 10 of 2006. Police found all of the victims in Suffolk, each one suffering death from asphyxiation. Wright’s first victim was also 3 months pregnant at the time of her death. A jury found Wright guilty in 2008, and he now serves a lifetime prison sentence.
Perhaps one of the most horrific and recent crimes of our day, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 15, 2012. Lanza was a 20-year-old recluse who lived with his mother in Newtown.
After shooting and killing his mother on the morning of December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered 26 more people, including 20 children. The nation continues to recover from this tragedy.
Today crime rates seem to increase as well as access to education through criminal justice schools. Crime and criminals will never completely go away, but hopefully the laws that keep us safe and better protected won’t.