- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (November 21, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0132180243
- ISBN-13: 978-0132180245
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,722,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Black Market Billions: How Organized Retail Crime Funds Global Terrorists 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
“Most people wouldn’t think that buying an off-the-truck designer bag could fund terrorism. In my three decades of experience as a former Detective Investigator with the NYPD and now running a private investigation firm, I can say that Hitha understands and explains why this is a dangerous mentality to have. In Black Market Billions, she spells out why the mindset that a stolen designer handbag is a bargain disappears once you consider that your purchase may be funding a deadly organized crime group.”
—Thomas Ruskin, Former NYPD Detective Investigator and President of CMP Protective and Investigative Group, Inc.
“Written like a financial thriller, Black Market Billions shines a bright light on the dark side of capitalism. The book opened my eyes to what really goes on behind the scenes in high-end retail, and the best part is you can feel her courage and passion on every page.”
—Lawrence G. McDonald, The New York Times Bestselling Author, A Colossal Failure of Common Sense
“Black Market Billions is a must-read for all government policymakers, business leaders, opinion makers, and consumers. With global markets in chaos, states in recession, and extremists waging war against civilization, few topics are as vital to our security as the nexus between organized retail crime and terrorism. This book will change the debate as we come to understand just how much terrorism depends on funds raised by crime. This is an immensely important book for understanding why terrorism remains part of modern politics and why societies must find ways to cut off the financial tentacles of support.”
—William C. Martel, Associate Professor of International Security Studies, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
“Counterfeiting is one of the least-acknowledged, most-damaging crimes of our time. In Black Market Billions, Hitha exposes this nefarious world of the violent syndicates and the crimes they commit—human trafficking, forced child labor, money laundering—and discovers that the profits fund even worse acts such as terrorism. You’ll never look at a fake Louis Vuitton handbag the same way again.”
—Dana Thomas, Author, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster
Organized retail crime is now a $38 billion business. Synchronized global teams 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 exposé, business journalist Hitha Prabhakar connects the dots and follows the money deep into the world’s fastestgrowing 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 their multimillion-dollar ripoffs are funding everyone from Al-Qaeda to Central America’s drug lords.
Black Market Billions draws on extensive first person interviews with law enforcement, industry personnel, and the criminals themselves. Prabhakar goes “inside” to reveal why the piracy economy has exploded...why preventative measures have failed...and what to expect next, as organized retail crime reaches a terrifying critical mass.
• Inside the massive, worldwide “piracy economy”
How organized retail crime went global—and what it means to you
• The money trail: from boosters and fences to consumers and terrorists
Shell warehouses and cargo theft: stealingfrom anyone, anywhere, anytime
• “Money laundering 2.0”: how terrorists are funded now
From ancient hawalas to twenty-first century gift cards
• Why the bad guys are still getting away with it
How terrorist funding keeps slipping through the cracks of today’s tougher laws
About 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.
Top customer reviews
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However, from my own studying, following and putting out analysis on terrorism, prior to and following 911, I found myself too troubled by some assertions made early in this book.
For example, take the assertion: "These terrorist groups are hell bent on destroying the American economy, its people, and its way of life, but also the lives of people with their own countries who don't stand with them." This statement dangerously misleads the public.
First, one cannot throw all named organizations into one group. Second, their individual prime objectives differ, but both prior to and since 911 have been primarily focused on either over-throwing their own governments, which they considered oppressive, and / or getting all foreign troops out of their countries or region, or in the case of the Palestinians to gain back their homes or gain relief from Israel's occupation and blockades. Our "way of life" means zip to them. For example, the explicit objectives of the often referenced 1989 mis-named bin Laden fatwah (he was one of five signers) were explicit, i.e., 1) Free al-Aqsa Mosque, 2) Free Mecca, 3) Remove U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia. Nothing about "way of life," etc.
One should not confuse the Taliban and Afghanistan / Pakistan border chiefs with al Qaeda, The Taliban were unequivocal anti-terrorist, known to be "extreme" in their law enforcement, and considered themselves US allies up until our attack. Although not the US official perspective, they and the border tribes are in fact fighting an occupation force, which action is legal by international law i.e., UN Charter Article 51 (and thereby US Constitution Article VI, item 2) as well as UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24.
As for the Taliban raising the cocaine trade, it was the Taliban which totally shut down the opium production in Afghanistan, and that production did not begin again until after our invasion and overthrow of the Taliban government. Such details, in this work excluded, are relevant if one wants to look beyond political agendas.
Relevant also is that Bin Laden was not released from his 2000 mandated vocal and written Islamic vow to Taliban commander Mullah Omar to remain out of international involvement, under threat of expulsion from guest status in Afghanistan, by Omar until after the US attack on the Taliban following 911.
The Taliban in Latin America? Come on. One has to wonder about some of these sources.
How does anyone, as claimed, address an audience of 30,000 in a room? And if the 30,000 is supposed to refer to al Qaeda, then it is fictitious.
If ORC (Organized Retail Crime) costs retailers nearly $30 billion / year, then how could Ohio alone reported losing $61 billion in sales taxes alone? Even if the entire $30 billion lost were in Ohio, it could not have lost more than $2.4 billion in sales tax annually, assuming 8% sales tax.
Due to my own previous studies of US and International Organized Crime I am in complete sympathy with the premise of this book, the enormous hundreds of billions of dollars extracted from world economies by organized crime, and connections to organizations, not only terrorist, but including political, judicial, law enforcement, and corporate. Hence, I looked forward to reading this book. But, unfortunately, in trying to review this book I ran aground on too many early assertions which I found questionable and misleading. Hence, I lost confidence in the book's credibility of assertions made by the author's sources.
Terrorism is real. But misrepresentations, although innocently passed on, are not helpful, for it misleads people, mis-directs their attention, and can cause them to ultimately be caught by surprise for not realizing the directions, i.e., causes, from which threats can come.
Understand this: These people have causes in which they believe with their lives, regardless of what we may think. These causes have nothing to do with whether we go to movies, party, shop at Walmart, or whatever. Their causes are focused upon what is happening in their own countries and regions. That is the intersection of their hatred and our actions.
This book should focus on the financial trail and minimize tangential assertions.
My apologies for the length of this review.
The book is divided into three main sections. The first section, The Piracy Economy, looks at the crimes from a larger scope and has chapters on Organized Retail Crime Goes Global, When a Deal Isn't a Deal, and The Cost to the Stores. It is a good introduction on how ORC cheats retailers and costs them more money than I realized, and how governments lose taxes because of the huge ORC rings. In part two, Follow the Money, the other profiles various links of the ORC chain. Chapters include The Money Trail and the Business of Cross-Border Trade, Profile of a Booster and a Fence, Family Ties, Money Laundering 2.0, The Political Agenda, and Strange Bedfellows. These chapters touch on those that are entering the stores and boosting the goods to terrorists and organized criminals on a global scale. Part three, Putting a Band-Aid on a Broken Leg, is the shortest section of the book and contains chapters on The Failure of Preventative Measures and Letting the Bad Guy Get Away. This section has brief possible solutions to this global problem. I'd have liked to have had more on solutions, but maybe no one really knows what to do yet. (However, the story of the mall in California gives hope that simple solutions might be able to curb the problem.) I also hope that this book, by bringing awareness to the problem may curb some people from purchasing the illegal, but cheaper, products being sold through these organized retail crime rings.
There were parts of the book where I wish the author would have gone into more detail, but I understand that it is always a task determining how much or how little to include regarding depth of a subject. There were over 400 end notes, so the author definitely researched the topic, but I didn't check out all the sources, and some may not be as reliable as others. Some of the dots there were connected in this book may not have been accurately joined, but to be fair, there are A LOT of dots to connect.
Overall, I think this is an important book for people to read and understand how big a problem ORC really is, and with this awareness, start looking for ways to do something about it.
Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author of the "Tough Guy Wisdom" series and others.