[image: PartyPoker founder Ruth Parasol]
I know what patriotic Americans reading about the lucrative feats being pulled off by organized cyber criminals in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere are thinking. Can't mobsters from the good old U.S. of A. compete in today's fast-moving global marketplace?
It's a sad fact that the West is lagging behind in giant-scale Internet fraud. But I don't think we need to lobby for a Five Families bailout just yet, especially if the Republicans capture the House tomorrow and kill Rep. Barney Frank's effort to legalize online gambling.
True, the other side has unfair advantages, including stunningly
corruptible business-oriented law enforcement and the lack of a Silicon Valley to siphon
off programming talent with high-paying straight jobs. In fact, some countries essentially sport a pre-fabbed mob infrastructure. Even legitimate enterprises typically hire their own mafia patron to negotiate cop-shakedowns and fend off other mobsters wanting handouts, so a greater union is pretty much the natural course of things once a hacking group gets big.
Going up against that sort of trade barrier, our wiseguys actually have done okay for themselves. U.S. prosecutors have said the biggest money-making enterprise in Gambino family history--netting some $650 million
--was a combined pair of scams run by soldier Richard Martino. One was pretty straightforward: Enter your credit card number, just to prove you're 18, to see some free Web pr0n, then prepare to be shocked when charges from innocuous-sounding businesses show up on your statement. The other showed more initiative. Callers looking for free phone sex were tape-recorded saying "yes", they were 18, and then stuck with bogus monthly phone services. When regulators inquired, the "yes" was played back, this time appearing to accept recurring fees.
Mainly, though, U.S. mobsters have moved on only gradually from what they know, taking to online sports betting and more recently online poker. BetCRIS, serving U.S. customers from Costa Rica, has been controlled by No. 1 American bookie Ron Sacco, who the FBI says worked with the Gambinos. And even London Stock Exchange-traded PartyPoker, for years the biggest card site, grew to dominance with the help of a key player in Martino's scams who avoided prosecution.
PartyPoker founder Ruth Parasol, another veteran of sketchy 1-900 and Web sex outfits, recommended her friend for the job, I've reported elsewhere.
So bettors shouldn't be stunned if they fall prey to cheating on online sites, or are unknowingly matched up against robots, or simply find that the site they put deposits in has disappeared. All of those things have already happened, and they will keep happening at least until online gambling is legalized and regulated. Because that no longer appears to be in the offing, our mobsters should continue to prosper. Now they just need to reinvest, diversify and pursue win-win partnering opportunities. Let's get those business-school applications in, people.
In a new working paper from the Center for Economic Policy Research, scholars look at the trading records of shareholders, directors and top executives of major financial institutions in the runup to the crash of 2007, and find that the sell-offs by the top five executives at a bank strongly correlated with that bank’s losses […]
In 2007, Singaporean blogfather Mr Brown discovered this video, which is literally the most best thing you will ever see, this week: middle-aged Singaporean government officials rapping(ish) about the nation’s public-private partnership strategy, with fresh rhymes like “They call me CEO, hear me out everyone/My aim, a vibrant media-hub for the city/Singapore-made content can be […]
In spring, 2015, American farmers started to spread the word that John Deere claimed that a notorious copyright law gave the company exclusive dominion over repairs to Deere farm-equipment, making it a felony (punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500K fine for a first offense) to fix your own tractor.
3D printers are hot, but they’re also pricey. While the prospect of cranking out everything we can dream up is enticing, cost is often one factor that keeps us from jumping onto the 3D printing train.Now, thanks to M3D, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can now get its flagship 3D printer–plus four reels of filaments–for just […]
It’s no secret that technology is changing the way we all work—but it’s also transforming the way we play. The games of today look nothing like those of 10 or even 20 years ago: these days it’s all about mobile and 3D. And now you can learn to design 3D mobile games with the Intro to Unity 3D Game […]
Earbuds are fine for casual listening while you work out or run errands. But when you really want to experience music as it was intended, nothing beats a serious set of noise-canceling, soundscape-enhancing headphones.The REMXD On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones offer high-quality sound with complete wireless connectivity — and at just $35.99, this rechargeable set won’t even cut into […]