He robs the rich to feed the poor, or so the folk tales of Robin Hood and his merry men detail. In today’s world of startups and social media activism, it seems the myth has taken new life in the form of some modern day Robin Hoods that use controversial methods to serve noble causes.
The following groups and individuals are some examples of modern day Robin Hoods that skirt legality to give to those in need.
1. Occupy’s Rolling Jubilee Fund
The best letter a millenial can get, after perhaps a belated acceptance letter to Hogwarts, is what 2,700 students received in September 2014: A notification that their student loan debt has been forgiven.
Rolling Jubilee, a project of the economic activist group and Occupy offshoot Strike Debt, gamed the system to abolish, in total, $3.8 million in private loans of Everest College students, several years after forgiving millions of dollars in medical debt.
Good Guy Greg likes the Rolling Jubilee. pic.twitter.com/Yx0UTby9df
— StrikeDebt (@StrikeDebt) September 29, 2014
How? In a technically legal move, the group had a debt collector spend a crowd-sourced $100,000 to buy off the debt from Corinthian Colleges, and turn it over to the campaign which forgave it instead of collecting.
2. Robin Hoods in Spain
Speaking of loans, outlaw-in-hiding Enric Duran of Catalan borrowed half a million euros worth from 39 Spanish banks with no intention of paying them back. Instead, he handed the money over to social activists in need of resources to promote capitalism alternatives.
I have “stolen” 492.000€ to those who most stole from us in order to denounce them and build alternatives for society and…bit.ly/14dU6yo — Enric Duran (@EnricDuranG) September 17, 2013
Applying for loans under the pretense of a fake television production company, the former table-tennis coach was arrested for his swindling in 2009 but released on bail two months later.
In the face of an 8 year sentence in February of 2013, he fled instead of standing trial, and is now considering his next move from an undisclosed location.
Spain is also home to Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, a Spanish politician that participated in a series of “Robin Hood raids” of supermarkets during which food and necessities were stolen and redistributed to poor families and food banks.
Though Sanchez Gordillo has political immunity, he’s said he would be happy to waive it and be jailed for the cause.
3. Paul Tudor Jones’ Robin Hood Foundation
Many have argued that activities on Wall Street are unethical at best and illegal at worst. Billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, however, has used his wolfish gains to give back to the New York City poor through what he aptly named the Robin Hood Foundation.
Since its inception, Jones has himself given over 1.25 million dollars to the charity. The “taking from the rich” portion of his agenda comes in the form of persuading donations out of billionaires at luxurious charity galas, and using Wall Street ruthlessness to achieve nonprofit success.
4. Robin Hood 702 – Casino Robin
One mysterious self-proclaimed Robin Hood purportedly takes from rich casinos and gives to the needy. Though winning money gambling in Vegas is admittedly not a crime, his Robin Hood shtick has done a lot of good in the world so far.
LOOKING FOR A DESERVING FAMILY STRUGGLING IN DEBT, FOR A CHANCE TO BE FLOWN TO VEGAS ALL EXPENSES PAID AND RELIEVED OF THEIR MONEY WOES. — Robin Hood702 (@robinhood702) September 23, 2009
With a website and Twitter handle, Robin Hood 702 has prompted people to register with their stories to get their debts paid off with his winnings. The philanthropist also organized an elaborate Christmas feast for the homeless in 2013, and reportedly rescued residents from a fire in an unrelated act of heroism.
5. Construction Robin Hoods
In a 2012 act that may or may not be associated with the vigilante group Anonymous, a group of New Yorkers were alleged to have stolen construction materials from luxury developments in Manhattan and delivered them to neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
The press release states, “Liberated from their role in building multimillion-dollar pieds-à-terre for wealthy CEOs and Hollywood celebrities, these tools are now in the collective hands of some of the hardest-hit communities in the city where they are now being allocated and shared among the people who need them most.”
6. Hamburg Umsonst
A gang of Hamburg activists, criminals that went by creative names such as “Spider Mum” “Multiflex” and “Santa Guevara” earned the comparison to Robin Hood through their philanthropic thievery in 2006.
The gang of 30 captured attention after raiding a swanky foodery dressed in superhero costumes to distribute the finest of goods to the city’s new underclass of unpaid interns and “one-euro-jobbers” — after stopping for a quick photo op, that is.
The group is also known for leaving notes at crime scenes with messages like this one: “Without the abilities of a superhero, survival is impossible in the town of the millionaires.”
The group has been out of the news since 2006, so it’s unknown whether they’re still at large, or if their spandex, capes, and avidity for fine cheeses eventually gave them away.