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John Palmer
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    (circa 1950-June 24, 2015)
    Born in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
    Dealer in paraffin, scrap metal, used cars, jewelry and gold
    Owned a series of time shares in the Canary Islands
    Convicted of 'masterminding the largest time share fraud on record' (2001)
    Sentenced to eight years in prison, served four (2001-05)
    Spent two years in jail in Spain before being released on bail with no charges filed (2007-09)
    Died of complications following heart surgery
    When he dropped out of school at fifteen, he was unable to read or write.
    He was suspected as the mastermind behind the Brinks-MAT robbery (November 26, 1983), the largest gold theft in Britain, and was caught melting down gold bars from the robbery in a crucible in his garden.
    He fathered a child out of wedlock with his secretary.
    He took £30 million from 16,000 people as payments for time shares that they were never allowed access to.
    At his trial, he tried to blame his underlings for the fraud, claiming he was too busy learning to fly his private jet to oversee day-to-day operations of the company.
    He was caught on tape offering to launder up to £60 million in drug money.
    In addition to fraud and money laundering, British and Spanish authorities suspected him of drug trafficking, extorting payments from competing time share operators, and shaking down drug dealers and prostitutes for 'protection' money.
    He declared bankruptcy (2005), but was suspected of hiding millions of pounds worth of assets.
    He was dyslexic, which was a factor in his poor education record.
    In the Brinks-MAT case, he managed to convince the jury that he had no idea that the gold bars he was smelting had been stolen.
    He blew the jury a kiss after his acquittal.
    Thanks to the trial, he got the cool nickname 'Goldfinger.'
    He was reportedly Great Britain's most financially successful criminal.
    According to the Sunday Times' 'Rich List,' at the time of his arrest for fraud, he was worth £300 million, tying him with Queen Elizabeth.
    Rival crime bosses allegedly placed a £1 million bounty on his head.

Credit: C. Fishel

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