FBI Increases Ten Most Wanted Fugitives Reward

The FBI is now offering up to $250,000 for information that leads to the arrest of a Ten Most Wanted Fugitive

Throughout its more than 100-year history, the FBI has solicited help from the public to locate wanted criminals—especially those on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. 

On May 25, 2023, the FBI announced that the reward for information leading directly to the arrest of a Ten Most Wanted Fugitive increased from up to $100,000 to up to $250,000. In some cases, the potential reward amount may be higher.

“The FBI recognizes the crucial role that public assistance has played in tracking fugitives throughout the years,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Raising the rewards for the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives will ideally garner additional public tips resulting in the capture of these dangerous criminals."

Ten Most Wanted Fugitives as of May 25, 2023

Ten Most Wanted Fugitives as of May 25, 2023

The FBI began publishing its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in March 1950 after a reporter asked for names of the “toughest guys” the Bureau sought to capture. A Washington Daily News article that followed—titled “FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives Named”—created so much publicity that former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover decided to implement an ongoing list.

The first person named to the list in 1950 was Thomas Holden, wanted for the murder of his wife, her brother, and her stepbrother. He was arrested in 1961 in Oregon after the FBI received a tip from a public citizen who had read an article about Holden in The Oregonian newspaper.

Over the years, the FBI has apprehended or located 494 fugitives on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. 163 were captured as a direct result of citizen cooperation. In the last five years alone, the FBI has captured eight fugitives from the list, most recently Michael James Pratt and Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez.

Fugitives named to the list must be considered particularly dangerous to society, with a long track record of committing serious crimes. The FBI also considers whether national and/or international publicity would likely assist in apprehending the fugitives. 

Noteworthy Ten Most Wanted Fugitives

Thomas James Holden was the first fugitive to be placed on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He was arrested in 1961.

Ruth Eisemann-Schier was the first woman placed on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. She was arrested in 1969.

Notorious organized crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was arrested in 2011 after 16 years on the run. He was arrested thanks to a tip from the public.

In May 2023, Donald Eugene Fields II became the 531st addition to the list. Fields is wanted for the alleged sex trafficking of at least one child in Missouri between approximately 2013 and 2017. 

“There is no question that the growing threat of violent crime concerns both law enforcement and communities all over the country,” said Quesada. “The reward offers of up to $250,000 is a significant increase, representing the FBI’s commitment to getting these disruptive criminals off the street.” 

In addition to traditional media outlets—such as newspapers, magazines, television, and radio—the FBI uses digital and electronic technology to share information on the current Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. Their faces are on digital billboards across the United States, as well as on the FBI’s website and social media accounts. Smartphone users can download a free app, FBI Wanted, to have the latest information at their fingertips.   

If you have information to share about a Ten Most Wanted Fugitive, call 1-800-CALL-FBI, submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov, or contact your local FBI office. If you are outside of the United States, you can contact the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.