7 Killers Who Did It for the Money

It’s long been said that greed can be a powerful motivator, but it’s still chilling, the lengths some people are willing to go to get their hands on some cash. Here are seven criminals who famously committed horrible crimes, all in the name of money.

Karl Karlsen

Talk about cold-blooded. Karl Karlsen killed not one, but two of his family members for insurance money.

In 2013, the 55 year-old New York father admitted to rigging a jacked-up truck to fall and crush his 23-year-old son Levi, who was working beneath it, after taking out a $700,000 life insurance policy on him. While he was serving 15 to life for that crime, he was also investigated for killing his wife Christina Karlsen, whose 1991 death in a house fire had previously been ruled accidental.

trainman111 / Shutterstock.com

trainman111 / Shutterstock.com

After Karlsen’s second wife went to authorities with suspicions about her husband’s involvement in Levi’s death, authorities in California reopened the cold case and Karlsen was charged yet again with first-degree murder. However, due to the lengthy state extradition process, Karlsen has yet to set foot in a California courtroom.

The Menendez Brothers

Although they claim their desire to kill was fueled by a long history of abuse at the hands of their parents, prosecutors alleged that Lyle and Erik Menendez killed out of greed.


The infamous Menendez brothers admitted to killing their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in 1989, claiming it was out of fear that they’d be killed first. But the self-defense plea didn’t sit well with the jury, especially not after it was revealed that the brothers, who were set to inherit their parents’ $14 million estate, went on a spending spree shortly after their deaths and purchased a Porsche, several businesses, and professional tennis lessons. Whatever their reasons, the brothers were convicted and sentenced to life behind bars in 1996.

Deviant / Shutterstock.com

Deviant / Shutterstock.com

Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt

Known as “the Killer Grannies,” Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt seemed like sweet, caring old women on the outside, but a jury saw through their Good Samaritan shtick and convicted them for the murders of two transient men in Los Angeles. The two friends were known for their kindness towards the down-and-out and had established a pattern of befriending and aiding homeless men.

After taking out large life insurance policies on their victims, the women then had the men killed in an orchestrated hit and run. The two greedy women collected $2.8 million before being discovered and convicted in the 1999 death of 73-year-old Paul Vados and the 2005 death of 50-year-old Kenneth McDavid. Both women are serving life in prison without parole.

Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock.com

Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock.com

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