Organized crime involves the operations of transnational, national and local groups involved in illegal activities aimed at purposeful benefits. Other groups such as terrorists are motivated by political ideologies. Organized crime groups may infiltrate the business arena by creating new businesses or acquiring existing ones. They usually get involved in legal businesses to conceal illegal activities. Some of the most common operations in organized crimes include fraud and trafficking of illegal goods such as drugs and alcohol. Organized criminal groups invest in the legal businesses to conceal the origin of the profits made from their illegal operations. The illegal market also offers very few opportunities for investment and hence their move to invest in legitimate markets. The investments also help to ensure that there is sufficient flow of finances to fund their operations. They also engage in these businesses to maximize their social boundaries and gain control over various market sections mostly locally.
Organized crime is involved in legal business that specialize in the provision of goods and services to the public. This includes education and healthcare centers. They use these businesses to create jobs for the community thus generating immense respect and a positive public image for themselves. The cover up helps to conceal their criminal backgrounds. They acquire assets for these organizations through the acquisition of assets and investing in them to gain profit. All these resources enable them to promote their illegal activities while avoiding surveillance by law enforcers. Organized crimes are mainly involved in various criminal activities that includes money laundering. This involves the transfer of the money obtained illegally to illegal activities to conceal its origin. Misappropriation of assets which involves causing an organization to pay for assets they have not received.
Some of the businesses that organized crimes are involved in include counterfeiting, contraband, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and human trafficking. Counterfeiting and contraband trading involves the imitation of a product or even their packaging to present it as the original product. Contraband entails the smuggling of these counterfeited products. Fraud and extortion may involve force, intimidation or violence to gain money from a premise. Human trafficking involves the use of exploitation through force and transporting people while they work against their will, drugs, and cybercrime.
Drug trafficking is the most lucrative criminal activity with a profit estimation of $320 billion. Data shows that drug trafficking is equivalent to 0.6 and 0.9 percent of the GDP. Cocaine and heroin are the most traded drugs with an estimated worth $85 billion and $68 billion respectively. The criminal groups normally infiltrate the bars and night club businesses to conduct the illegal activity of forced prostitution. Most of these women are either kidnapped, smuggled, people coerced with the promise of getting work and even the use of violence or force.
Bars and clubs give the impression of legit businesses with routine dancing to conceal prostitution that is going on in the background. They also infiltrate pornography by the use of massage parlors as concealment. People then pay more cash for these services, these are mainly controlled by the crime families who even buy houses in their name but it’s a production area for these films. Criminals use shell companies to launder money, these companies do not have an asset and are normally not involved in the production. They appear as legit businesses to avoid suspicion this companies obtain the money from illegal activities. Smurfing is also another method that involves the breaking down of these large sums to small spread accounts to avoid detection. lt is also done through online auctions, sales or gambling where it’s converted into gaming currency then transferred into real, untraceable clean money (Wentworth,2018).