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I'm currently reading through the The Life and Times of Adam Worth and as much as I'm fascinated by Adam Worth and his mastermind for 19th century crime, there is one thing that the book fails to mention:

How did he stop his crooks from keeping most of the loot they stole?

This question extends to all organised crime and mafias in general, how does the leader prevent his "employees" from just keeping most of what they steal.

When they are dealing with financial bonds or stolen goods, I understand that the boss has the contacts to resell them. But say the crooks go safe cracking and steal money, what is stopping them from keeping it and running off or just officially declaring that they only found 10% of what they actually got ?

Adam Worth was known to having a very strict rule of no harm to anyone, so I struggle to see how he could achieve such loyalty without instilling fear into his crooks

Are there any historical examples and explanations of how this was ensured ? Do you have any sources I could read up on to further my understanding of the inner workings of organised crime ?

  • I'd bet it is because community and teamwork are real things. – axsvl77 Jan 23 at 0:28
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    Why does not every bank employee empty the vault? Because even if you do not fear retribution, crossing your employer means that you no longer get more work from him; so even if you were so inclined you would need a big reward for making it profitable. Also if the safe crackers go in a team, they would need to trust each other not to spill the beans. And they probably do not know if Worth knows what is in the safe. And lastly, maybe sometimes some people did take some of the money and Worth did not notice/did notice but just "fired" the employee quietly. – SJuan76 Jan 23 at 9:04

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