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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Organized Crime: A Cultural Introduction by Antonio Nicaso @AntonioNicaso and Marcel Danesi #OrganizedCrime

This book aims to describe and demystify what makes criminal gangs so culturally powerful. It examines their codes of conduct, initiation rites, secret communications methods, origin myths, symbols, and the like that imbue the gangsters with the pride and nonchalance that goes hand in hand with their criminal activities. Mobsters are everywhere in the movies, on television, and on websites. Contemporary societies are clearly fascinated by them. Why is this so? What feature and constituents of organized criminal gangs make them so emotionally powerful―to themselves and others? These are the questions that have guided the writing of this textbook, which is intended as an introduction to organized crime from the angle of cultural analysis. Key topics include:

  • An historic overview of organized crime, including the social, economic, and cultural conditions that favour its development;
  • A review of the type of people who make up organized gangs and the activities in which they engage;
  • The symbols, rituals, codes and languages that characterize criminal institutions;
  • The relationship between organized crime and cybercrime;
  • The role of women in organized crime;
  • Drugs and narco-terrorism;
  • Media portrayals of organized crime.
Organized Crime: A Cultural Introduction, includes case studies and offers an accessible, interdisciplinary approach to the subject of organized crime. It is essential reading for students engaged with organized crime across criminology, sociology, anthropology and psychology.


Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Florida Man is Among 3 Men Charged in $100 Million Cryptocurrency Fraud #Conspiracy #MoneyLaundering #Ponzi #Stuart

A federal grand jury indicted Emerson Pires, 33, and Flavio Goncalves, 33, both of Brazil, and Joshua David Nicholas, 28, of Stuart, Florida, in connection with a global cryptocurrency-based fraud that generated around $100 million in revenues from investors. The indictment charges all three defendants with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. The indictment also charges Pires and Goncalves with conspiracy to commit international money laundering.
EmpiresX cryptocurrency charged as a reputed Ponzi Scheme


According to the indictment, Pires and Goncalves founded EmpiresX, a cryptocurrency investment platform and unregistered securities offering. Pires and Goncalves, along with Nicholas, the company’s so-called “Head Trader,” fraudulently promoted EmpiresX. They misled investors about, among other things, a purported proprietary trading “bot” that they claimed could generate guaranteed returns to investors in EmpiresX.

As alleged in the indictment, Pires and Goncalves then laundered investors’ funds through a foreign-based cryptocurrency exchange, and paid out early EmpiresX investors with money obtained from later investors in a Ponzi-style scheme.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami Field Office, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

“Our office is committed to protecting investors from sophisticated scammers seeking to capitalize on the relative novelty of digital currency,” said United States Attorney Gonzalez. “As with any emerging technology, those who invest in cryptocurrency must beware of profit-making opportunities that appear too good to be true.”

“The technology has changed, but the crime remains the same,” said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Miami. “Unscrupulous fraudsters are nothing new to the investment world - what’s changing is they are now pushing their criminal activity into the cryptocurrency realm. Investors beware. Conduct your due diligence before investing. The FBI would like to commend Homeland Security Investigations for their close cooperation on this case.”

“This case should serve as a warning to any individuals who look to illegally capitalize on the perceived ambiguity of the crypto market to take advantage of innocent investors” said HSI Miami Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury. “HSI will continue to work with our partners to pursue anyone who utilizes these types of schemes to victimize would be customers.”

FBI and HSI are investigating the case.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Mexican Citizen Sentenced to Federal Prison for Acting as Russian Agent within the United States

Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, 36, a Mexican citizen who had resided in Singapore and spent significant time in Russia, was sentenced in the Southern District of Florida to four years and one day in prison for acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General.

According to court documents, since 2019, Fuentes acted under the direction and control of someone he believed to be a Russian government official. Instructed by this Russian official, Fuentes arranged for an intermediary to lease a unit in a residential building in Miami-Dade County where a U.S. person, who had previously provided information about the Russian government to the U.S. government, resided.

Furthermore, at the direction of the same Russian official, Fuentes traveled to Miami in February 2020 to obtain the license plate number and parking location of the U.S. person’s car to provide to the Russian official upon his next trip to Russia.

Fuentes’s travel companion, at his request, took a photo of the U.S. person’s car. A WhatsApp message from Fuentes’s travel companion to Fuentes contained a close-up photograph of the specified U.S. person’s car. The manner in which Fuentes communicated with the Russian government official and his undertakings in this case are consistent with the tactics of the Russian intelligence services for spotting, assessing, recruiting and handling intelligence assets and sources.

Fuentes had not notified the U.S. Attorney General, as required by law, that he was acting in the United States as an agent of the Russian government.

Fuentes pleaded guilty in February 2022. U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks for the Southern District of Florida imposed the sentence, which included an order that the defendant be removed from the United States to Mexico promptly upon his release from confinement.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Criminology on Trump (Crimes of the Powerful) by @GreggBarak is Trending #1 in Government New Releases

Criminology on Trump, is a criminological investigation of the world's most successful outlaw, Donald J. Trump. Over the course of five decades, Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault, tax evasion, money laundering, non-payment of employees, and the defrauding of tenants, customers, contractors, investors, bankers, and charities. Yet, he has continued to amass wealth and power. In this book, criminologist and social historian Gregg Barak asks why and how?

This book examines how the United States precariously maintains stability through conflict in which groups with competing interests and opposing visions struggle for power, negotiate rule breaking, and establish criminal justice. While primarily focused on Trump's developing character over three quarters of a century, it is also an inquiry into the changing cultural character and social structure of American society. It explores the ways in which both crime and crime control are socially constructed in relation to a changing political economy.

An accessible and compelling read, this book is essential for all those who seek a criminological understanding of Donald Trump's rise to power.


Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Reputed Mafia Boss Bashkim Osmani Posts Bail #OperationCasino

Bashkim Osmani, the alleged mafia boss who was arrested in February this year, has been released from Palma prison having paid bail of 400,000 euros. On Tuesday, a court in Palma agreed to his release. His passport has been taken away and he must report to a court twice a month.
Bashkim Osmani



In February, there was a huge operation against money laundering and drugs trafficking. Operation Casino, which was centred on Mallorca, involved the Guardia Civil and National Police as well as a number of European police forces and the FBI.

Osmani's lawyer, Jaime Campaner, told the court that having had access to the file, which had remained secret for almost four years, "there was no evidence" against his client and so requested his release on bail.

Kosovar Bashkim Osmani came to Mallorca in 1999. He bought the Ritzi de Portals restaurant, which at that time had another name. He then bought an apartment in the area and later commissioned the building of a five million euro mansion in Camp de Mar. In 2018, the Guardia Civil opened a thorough investigation into Osmani and his alleged criminal organisation.

Some 600 police took part in Operation Casino. Osmani was traced to a hotel he owns in Croatia. He was arrested by Croatian police and extradited to Spain - to Mallorca, specifically, Investigators maintain that his network moved huge amounts of cocaine between South America and Europe and laundered the proceeds.

Thanks to Andrew Ede.

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