Brazilian Beef

Organised Crime it seems, resides in the most innocuous of places, but is drawn nevertheless to the bright lights. Organised Crime is exactly what it says on the tin; it requires a coordinated selection of people, usually working in different areas of business, but all coerced into working towards one goal. They may perhaps only be small cogs in the machine and have no real idea of what the bigger picture is, but they remain crucial components, nonetheless.

A great place to start is with hardworking but invisible employees, perhaps disgruntled at their poor rates of pay, whilst their noses are pressed up against those who at least appear to be living the highlife. One prime example of this approach in action being revealed by a massive and recent case of money laundering in Las Vegas.

21 criminals so far have been indicted by the FBI, in what has turned out to be a multi-million dollar swindle, involving counterfeit cards being plied at casinos across America. The individuals involved would swing between their base in Las Vegas out to New Orleans, Biloxi, Mississippi and Detroit, spending hard at luxury retail outlets.

They favoured brand goods, such as Nike, expensive horse-riding equipment and Tiffany jewellery. But their lavish lifestyle also involved posting huge bills at top end nightclubs such as Hakkasan and XS on The Strip.

Details of the case revealed that some $2.6m in cash withdrawals were made inside MGM casinos alone and a further $2.5m in Rolex purchases. Most of the bought goods then being sold on.

So where did all this money come from? FBI raids on several Vegas properties revealed card-skimming and card-cloning equipment and this lead in turn to several high-end Brazilian steak restaurant employees. All of the people indicted are of Brazilian origin and ten of them fugitives.

Some key staff were skimming their client’s card details, this information then used to create credit cards and false accounts, to fund the massive spending sprees.

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