High-Tech Rackets

While the Mafia still relies on the tried and true bookmaking and loanshark-ing rackets, they have been able to capitalize on other ventures, some even high-tech. Not too shabby for a street-level tough with barely a high school education! In recent years the Mafia has been involved in sophisticated stock scams, money laundering operations, prepaid cell phone distribution, computer crimes, and insurance scams.

The Mafia's pump and dump scams on Wall Street were big moneymakers, but the mob also ran sophisticated stock scams out of Boca Raton, Florida. The community became so notorious for its stock rackets that it became a target for organized crime groups from around the world.

In June of 2000, the Justice Department announced the indictment of 120 people, many tied to the five families of New York. It was one of the largest busts of its kind, and it showed that some members of the Mafia were equally at home on Wall Street as they were in Brooklyn. Throughout the 1990s, gangsters were setting up fake brokerage houses and marketing worthless stocks to unwitting investors. The wise guys bribed brokers, threatened security personnel, and stole millions. It was money for the taking. And even though the busts brought their operations to a screeching halt, the gangsters only went away for a couple years.

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