It was Scotland yard who first, used the phrase “the napoleon of crime” to describe Adam Worth 1844-1902, a real life criminal mastermind, who did 7 years in prison for robbery, finally caught in Belgium, when a robbery went wrong.
Worth was a German born criminal, who under the alias’ of Henry J Raymond and Edward Grey migrated to America and then europe and Great britain. His career is listed as being
Allegedly tracked down by the pinkertons detective agency, his criminal career started as a pick pocket however the crowning glory of his criminal career, was the theft of a portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana, painted by Thomas Gainsborough in in 1787, the theft was in 1876 and was eventually returned to its owner in 1901 a year before Worth was to die.
Simon Newcomb, was a talented and respected American Astronomer, with a level of mathematical genius that would fit with the notorious moriarty, Newcomb had a reputation for destroying and wrecking the reputations of of Rival Scientists who tried to denounce his work.
Sriniwasa Ramanujan was, around the time that “The Valley of Fear” came out renowned for his work on Binomial Theorem, which Conan Doyle attributes to his fictional anti hero.
George Boole was an English Theologian and Logician, mathematical genius, philosopher and Algebra master, and is best known for his book, The laws of thought.
Another influence used to form Moriarty is allegedly John O’connor Power, an irish Mp who lived in county Mayo in the republic of ireland, lived 1846 to 1919, and was an Mp between 1874 to 1885, which is of Sherlock Holmes’ own time.
A final major influence, was The Thief Taker General, Jonathon Wild who was Renowned for playing both sides of the Law, as the self appointed Thief Taker general a public figure who allegedly caught notorious criminals, but his darker side, was of the leader of a gang who would steal items of value, and ransom them back to their owner.
So i give you the major shaping of Moriarty, the master mathemetician, the binomial theorist, the finder of the un findable, the organiser of assassinations and the destroyer of reputations, indeed if you stood against him you were certain to die a very mysterious death.
I fear if this despicable character had lived, in more than Conan doyles head and pen, then Holmes would have to have lived to catch him, and perhaps have a little swim together in the reichenbach falls