Black Market Billions: How Organized Retail Crime Funds Global Terrorists

Black Market Billions: How Organized Retail Crime Funds Global Terrorists

4.3 15
by Hitha Prabhakar
     
 

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From piracy to counterfeiting to cargo theft, organized retail crime has exploded into a $38 billion industry. Synchronized global teams of thieves are pilfering immense volumes of high-value products, counterfeiting even more--and using the profits to support the world’s most vicious terrorists and criminal gangs.

In this eye-opening piece of

Overview

From piracy to counterfeiting to cargo theft, organized retail crime has exploded into a $38 billion industry. Synchronized global teams of thieves are pilfering immense volumes of high-value products, counterfeiting even more--and using the profits to support the world’s most vicious terrorists and criminal gangs.

In this eye-opening piece of investigative journalism, top business reporter Hitha Prabhakar connects the dots and follows the money deep into the world’s fastest-growing criminal industry. You'll learn how the Internet, social media, and disposable cell phones have opened the floodgates for a new generation of criminals--and how buying something as innocent as a counterfeit handbag or discounted cigarettes actually funds terrorist groups from Al-Qaeda to Central America’s drug lords.

Black Market Billions draws on extensive first person interviews with law enforcement, industry, and the criminals themselves to reveal how retail crime rings impact the security in every country in which they operate. Prabhakar goes "inside" to reveal why the piracy economy has exploded...why preventive measures have failed...and what to expect next, as organized retail crime reaches a terrifying critical mass.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A labyrinthine study of how retail theft ripples down to fund international terrorism. An idea born from instant messages exchanged with a friend pushing knock-off handbags, Bloomberg Television reporter Prabhakar decided to "follow the money trail" through the complicated billion-dollar business of counterfeit and stolen retail merchandise. Her consistently distressing research illuminates how organized retail crime (ORC) thrives amid a recessive economy as penny-pinching consumers turn to cheaper ways of purchasing everything from luxury items to prescription and over-the-counter drugs. These seemingly minor shopping decisions, she writes, fuel intricately systematic rings of thieves who funnel millions of American-earned dollars into international terrorist cells, many functioning on American soil. Prabhakar's indignation is well supported by chapters on the many interlocking facets of black-market thievery, including the calculated machinations of insider and outsider thefts, the creation of money-laundering shell corporations, online "e-fencing," gift-card fraud and cigarette smuggling. The author chronicles her hours of interviews with authors, industry insiders, loss-prevention experts and key businessmen, many of whom remain anonymous. Law-enforcement case studies demonstrate gradual, hopeful inroads toward thwarting ORC movements with collaborative efforts between government agencies. Countering this is a series of thief profiles revealing a cunning, professional workforce. On a smaller scale, Prabhakar offers everyday advice on how to recognize (and avoid) the work of an ORC operative both online and on the streets, yet ultimately she believes that without the cooperation of state and federal law enforcement and retailers to aggressively regulate this black market, "the cycle will continue." Sharp-pencil analysis on the seemingly futile battle against retail fraud.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780132180245
Publisher:
FT Press
Publication date:
11/25/2011
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,219,738
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Hitha Prabhakar is a New York-based reporter for Bloomberg Television, covering business news and financial markets with a particular focus on retail. Before joining Bloomberg Television in 2011, Prabhakar was founder and principal of The Stylefile Group, a retail consulting firm based in New York City, where she served as an advisor to hedge funds and other clients with long-term holdings in retail companies. Prior to that, Prabhakar served as a retail reporter for Forbes Media, covering the luxury industry as well as men’s fashion. She has written for Time, People, MSNBC.com, ELLE India, and Metro newspapers, among other publications. Prabhakar was formerly a contributor on CNBC and has had numerous television appearances as a retail analyst on networks including CBS, CNN, Fox News, Sky News, and Bravo. She holds degrees in philosophy and economics from Smith College and a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She also studied at the London School of Economics.

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Black Market Billions 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author's journalist background clearly shows - the book reads like a very long magazine expose article meaning it's not too stuffy or academic sounding. It is a little disheartening, though, to learn how it seems so easy to carry out organized retail crime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bit too detailed but a learning experience for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She laughs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im ba ck... thats pretty new
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
* sells drugs for $300 each
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She simply shrugs again "I cannot judge" she says and reads
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Whatever." He yawns.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Went to the largest room and opened it using a set of lockpicks. She waled in to the room. She closed the curtain and began setting up her equipment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bar exclusive to bounty hunters where they can live and get drunk.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reason for 3 stars - it is an interesting topic and a good eye opener for many people. The biggest downfall of this book is the organization structure. The author tends to be all over the place and jumping from one subject to another. The flow from one chapter to another is minimal. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No! *begins a game of tug-of-war with the Ocarina*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the detail on how and why of this retail crime interesting. It is illuminating that a lot of the crime is driven by the retailers themselves. They are buying merchandise from the black market in order get items at below retail cost. It is these same retailers who are being stolen from. I see a lot of blame placed on Muslims, Hispanics, Government, and consumers. The retailers are treated as victims, when there is blame enough for them as well. It is scarcely mentioned that to save money, retailers fired long term employees and replaced them with cheap short term employees. This creates a climate of a lack of loyalty in labor and managment. A lot of this crime is facilitated by managment, and front line workers. This dynamic could be explored in more detail.
plappen More than 1 year ago
Shoplifting (now called Organized Retail Crime) is no longer perpetrated just by people from the inner city needing money for drugs. It is a multi-billion dollar, worldwide industry enriching various terrorist groups all over the world. These are very tight-knit groups, akin to Mafia "families." The "boosters" travel certain routes around America, doing the actual shoplifting. They give the items to a Level 1 fence, who might give or sell them to a level 2 or 3 fence. These could be legitimate import/export businesses doing the fencing, with the illegal part as a sideline. By this time, it is nearly impossible to track the items. Sometimes, the items are sold right back to the retailer from which they were stolen. They could also be sold on online auction sites (like ebay), and they could show up at your local flea market. There are occasional high-profile seizures of millions of dollars in fake or stolen goods, but, in general, the thieves are several steps ahead of the authorities. Various law enforcement agencies, from the local to the federal level, either can't, or don't want to, share information. They all want the "big score." Individual state laws are full of loopholes, or are ambiguous, about basic things like the definition of "shoplifting." When someone is arrested, the local District Attorney's office might not want to spend the time following the money, or may be interested only in "Mr. Big." There are a number of ways to move money overseas that get around the federal $10,000 threshold. Thieves are certainly using them, but legislation has yet to catch up. What can the average mall retailer do about it? They can start by training their employees to watch for shoplifters. Especially during the holidays, many part-timers are hired who are not trained in loss prevention, or who don't care (very often, employees are doing the stealing). Stores need to balance increased spending on loss prevention against not driving away customers. During the current economic uncertainty, everyone wants a bargain. Is that "discounted" designer handbag or infant formula really such a bargain knowing that your money could end up in the coffers of Colombia's FARC or Hamas? To call this book an eye-opener is a huge understatement. It is a very interesting book that is highly recommended.