Ex-criminals who now work 9-5 jobs – from drug dealer to gangster who met Queen

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Some of the world’s most notorious criminals have now waved goodbye to a life of crime.

Instead of lining their pockets through illegal means, they now earn a living like any other Tom, Dick or Harry.

And while their mundane jobs may be less profitable than their past exploits, the reformed criminals can at least sleep easier knowing they won’t be thrown in jail at any moment.

From fearsome London gangsters to menacing New York mobsters – here we take a look at what these former crooks now do with their time.

Gangster turned campaigner

Bobby Cummines is a notorious London gangster who has confessed that an innocent victim’s death still haunts him to this day.

The career criminal, now 70, was an armed robber who spent time in a maximum security jail before turning his life around.

His notoriety was established early in life – after he became Britain’s youngest armed robber at the tender age of 16.

Cummines continued his dodgy exploits in the 1970s and went on to set up his own firm of hitmen, blaggers and racketeers called ‘The Chaps’.

Unsurprisingly, he eventually got banged up, where he began his redemption story.

Behind bars he met fellow London gangster, Charlie Richardson, who encouraged him to be an upstanding citizen.

Cummines did just that after leaving prison by becoming an anti-crime campaigner.

He was eventually appointed chief executive of UNLOCK – the National Association of Reformed Offenders.

And his tireless work trying to do good landed him an OBE from Queen Elizabeth in 2011.

Remembering the encounter, he said: “The Queen told me I had a really colourful background and she was pleased to award me the OBE.

"That’s the nicest way I can think of someone telling me I’ve got a lot of form,” says Bobby.

“I’ve done some horrendous things – extreme violence – I never deny that. I deserved every day I got in prison because it was lunacy.

“I was dangerous and if I hadn’t been stopped there would have been shootings.

"There would have been dead bodies all over the place. But I got to the stage where I didn’t want to hurt people any more.

“When I got my OBE I was humbled.”

Cocaine drug dealer to removal man

Bristol man Richard Jones now leads an ordinary life paying his bills with a regular 9-5.

But it is far removed from the 52-year-old’s wild past – from serving in the Cold War to leaving the army feeling like an out of control “weapon of mass destruction”.

He had seven years in the military before spending 15 years in organised crime – where he constantly felt trapped.

Jones said his only escape was death or prison and described feeling relieved when he was finally nicked.

This came after he was identified as a key member of a gang that smuggled more than £3million worth of cocaine from London to Gloucestershire and Bristol for distribution across the South West and Wales.

He was given a 15-year sentence after being convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Once imprisoned, he turned his attention to positive goals.

He wrote his own course called Project TLS (The Lost Soldier) – that was later commissioned – to help imprisoned veterans.

No he’s free, Jones also works as a removal firm.

Reflecting on his good deeds, he told Daily Star : “I wrote, created and delivered the course to veterans while in prison. I want to continue helping soldiers when they leave and identify the problems and prepare them for release.

“I’m currently working for a removal company called 'We Like 2 Move It' and they’ve helped me.

“We can provide furniture for veterans if they need anything for their families or themselves.”

And although he isn’t earning life-changing money, Jones is finally at peace.

He said: “Something as simple as the smell of a coffee shop. That might sound really strange but if you like coffee you don’t realise how much you love the smell until it’s gone and you experience it again.

“I just like going for a walk with my son to the park or woods – somewhere without concrete everywhere.

“I even like going for a walk into town and seeing people go about their everyday business because prior to my incarceration every experience was tainted from being involved in organised crime.”

He added: “You look at things through frosted glass and you see things but don’t experience them properly.

“For the first time since coming out of the army and the first time in my adult life, I experience things the same as others.

“And that’s really nice.”

Mafia mob boss to motivational speaker

It was once inconceivable that Michael Franzese would ever leave behind a life of crime.

That’s because he was regarded as one of the most powerful mafia bosses in New York.

He was born into the infamous Colombo crime family – and he himself went on to become a caporegime, an underboss, who led a vicious crew of 300 soldiers.

Franzese even claimed he was generating up to $8million a week in his heyday.

The mobster, now 70, said he ditched crime after finding God – before going on to plead guilty to racketeering charges.

He paid $15million to the American government and got a 10-year prison sentence.

The mob was furious and put a hit out against him – but Franzese evaded death and is now a motivational speaker.

He has also written six books and now spends his days giving inspirational talks at prisons, universities and various conferences.

His Twitter bio, where he has more than 44,000 followers, now reads: “A former caporegime of the NY Colombo Crime Family, Motivational Speaker, Husband, Father, and Follower of Christ.”

‘Walter White of ecstasy’ to podcaster

Despite once being a nerdy British student, Shaun Attwood was once regarded as of the biggest drug traffickers in America and was labelled the “Walter White of ecstasy”.

The ecstasy kingpin is estimated to have smuggled £4million worth of drugs into Arizona.

Attwood, from Chesire, moved to the desert state in the 90s after becoming a stockbroker millionaire.

There, he began shifting drugs to earn nicknames like ‘the Bank of England’ and ‘English Shaun’s pills’.

His dealing resulted in a mafia hit being ordered against him before he was chucked in one of America’s most dangerous jails, Maricopa County Jail.

He left prison in 2007 and was deported back to the UK where he eventually became a podcaster, author, public speaker and jail activist.

And Attwood also spends time lecturing school kids on the dangers of drugs and crime.

He now has more than 683,000 YouTube subscribers and his videos have racked up more than 93 million views.

FBI’s most wanted to security consultant

Kevin Mitnick was known as the world’s most famous hacker – a reputation that led to him being on the FBI’s most wanted list.

Mitnick hacked into dozens of major corporations – including Nokie, Motorola and even the NSA.

He began hacking as a teenager and after a warrant was issued for his arrest he became a fugitive for two-and-a-half years.

Cops eventually arrested him in 1995 and he was charged with 14 counts of fraud and served five years in jail.

But he later used his hacking skills for more ethical means – and has worked as a security consultant to the Fortune 500 and governments worldwide.

In 2017 he gave a speech at the IP EXPO in Manchester.

Giving the audience a glimpse into his shady pasty, he said: “Sometimes the hacker couldn't care a less about breaking into the company, they simply want the information.

"I'm going to share with you one of my attacks from the black hat days, not because I'm proud of it, but I think it really illustrates the threat and impact of social engineering attacks.

"If we rewind back to 1993. I'm living in Denver, Colorado, and I'm not living under the name of Kevin Mitnick because the FBI was looking for me at the time and I really didn't want to talk to them.

"I was living under the name of Erik Weisz. Why? Because that was the real name of Harry Houdini and he was one of my idols.

"I love magic and that is how I got started doing this – I found out later that the FBI had no sense of humour but that's a story for another day."

Mitnick is now the CEO of his own company called Mitnick Security and he is also the chief hacking officer for a firm called KnowBe4.

  • Mafia
  • Prison News
  • Queen
  • YouTube
  • Crime
  • Money
  • Drugs
  • FBI
  • Military
  • London

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