Future of Eurasian Organized Crime Term Paper

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Ashley, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI relates that in 1991: "...the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles charged 13 defendants in a $1 billion false medical billing scheme that was headed by two Russian emigre brothers. On September 20, 1994, the alleged ringleader was sentenced to 21 years in prison for fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and money laundering. He was also ordered to forfeit $50 million in assets, pay more than $41 million in restitution to government agencies and insurance companies victimized by the scheme." (2003) Ashley relates that the first Eurasian organized crime investigation of a significant nature involved a major underworld figure in the United States and specifically, Vyacheslav Ivankov who is a powerful Eurasian organized crime boss. Ashley states that Ivankov "...led an international criminal organization that operated in numerous cities in Europe, Canada, and the United States, chiefly New York, London, Toronto, Vienna, Budapest, and Moscow. The investigation was initiated in 1993 after the FBI was alerted to Ivankov's presence in the United States by the Russian Ministry of the Interior (MVD)" (2003) According to Ashley, Ivankov and five other individuals were arrest by the FBI in June, 1994 and in June 1996 Ivankov was convicted on several counts of extortion and conspiracy. In 1997, Ivankov was sentenced to serve 115 months incarcerated and a five-year period of probation by the Eastern District of New York. The roots of organized crime in the Unites States is stated by the FBI to "lie with the 'Vory V Zakone' or 'thieves-in-law' career criminals. These groups and their criminal activities "cause hundreds of million of dollars in looses to U.S. businesses, investors and taxpayers through sophisticated fraud schemes and public corruption." (FBI: Organized Crime, nd)

The work entitled: "Organized Crime in California: 2005 Annual Report to the California Legislature" relates that criminal groups "that originated from the 15 republics that once made up the former Soviet Union are commonly referred to as Russian Organized Crime (ROC) groups by law enforcement authorities and the media. Most of the people who engage in organized crime in the former Soviet Union are not typically ethnic Russian, but they are from regions which commonly spoke the language and were dominated by Russia for generations." (State of California, 2006) the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) states that approximately 200,000 former Soviet Union citizens immigrated to the United States in order to escape religious and political persecution. It is also said to be suspected that "the KGB emptied their prisons of hardcore criminals and exported them to this country; much like Cuban dictator Fidel Castro did during the 'Mariel boat-lift'. Many former Soviet Union emigres that came to the United States settled in an area of New York known as Brighton Beach. As of this date, Brighton Beach is the hub of the EOC in the country." (State of California, 2006) Eurasian organized crime groups have been attempting to achieve money and power and have toward this end "established the patterns of criminal activity throughout the major cities of this country." (State of California, 2006)

The Eurasian criminal groups on the East and West Coast are in cooperation and communication with one another as well as being in contact with the Eurasian organized crime groups in the former Soviet Union. These groups have aligned themselves with other criminal organizations and formed sophisticated and lucrative enterprises through operating via international networks. The California report states that the State of California is a "major target for auto thieves, because of the numerous automobile auction centers. At the auction centers, insurance companies often recover stolen vehicles or damaged vehicles that can be purchased legally with valid Vehicle Identification Numbers. Investigators often recover vehicles that have been stolen for parts only. In this situation, the thieves dissemble the vehicle, being careful not to damage body parts. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) the thieves hide all the stripped parts at a local storage facility and begin to track the recovered shell." (State of California, 2006) Involved in the conspiracy are automotive body shops who reconstruct the vehicles after they have been purchased at auction centers. The crime groups take these vehicles out of state and re-register the vehicle in a manner that is to "clear or wash the salvaged title." (State of California, 2006 State of California, 2006) According to the report, approximately 10% of these vehicles are never located. Authorities state a belief that these vehicles are shipped in containers to other countries "anywhere from Mexico to Moscow." (Ashley, 2003) the report relates that law enforcement authorities in Northern California "have noticed an increase in the amount of stolen vehicles form places like Sacramento being transported to port cities such as Oakland. These stolen vehicles are shipped overseas where they can sell for three times the value of car." (Ashley, 2003)

Authorities report that they arrested members of the Eurasian criminal enterprise who were involved in a major merchandise ring involving stolen goods early in 2005. This particular criminal cell committed the offense of returning stolen merchandise to department stores with forged receipts. This operation began along the border of California and Mexico and ran up the coast to Los Angeles targeting 12 stores each day. People outside of the ring of criminals were recruited for returning stolen merchandise to the stores with receipts and debit cards that had been forged. The individual who was the leader of this ring is reported to have also been arrested about ten years ago for the same crime. Another area of fraud that continues to "be a profitable field for EOC criminals." (Ashley, 2003) the arrest of EOC members is March, 2006 is reported for involvement in a Medi-Cal fraud ring "operating in Los Angeles, Glendale, and Pasadena from 1997 to 2005. The crime ring bilked more than $20 million from Medicare by operating medical clinics and laboratories that paid for patient referrals and then billed Medicare for tests that were unnecessary or not performed at all." (State of California, 2006) These groups are seen as being experts at white-collar crime commission including money-laundering and fraud and are "becoming increasingly more creative in their efforts to launder money. Not only do they funnel money through their legitimate businesses, but they also use shell companies to accomplish their goal. Shell companies are fictitious and legitimate businesses used most often for criminal activity such as laundering money and immigration fraud. Oftentimes, the fictitious businesses use an apartment for a business location. However, they sometimes only exist on paper using a suite number to give the appearance of a legitimate commercial building address." (State of California, 2006) the criminals of the EOC are "masters at fraud and have been described as always having on foot in the criminal underworld and one foot in legitimate business world. It is this blend that makes it difficult to detect when a crime is taking place." (State of California, 2006)

The report relates additionally that a great deal of money, in fact, billions of U.S. dollars in criminal takings are "being transferred to accounts overseas and within the United States. There are concerns that these fraudulent funds will be used to further finance criminal activities in the United States." (State of California, 2006) These EOC networks work in organized alien smuggling schemes using fraudulent visa petitions and border crossing and it has been learned by law enforcement authorities that the EOC networks "established shell corporations in California to facilitate the illegal movement of money, and people as well." (State of California, 2006) an official from the UN explaining why the EOC groups are involved in trafficking of people stated: "Trafficking in human beings is like investing in bonds. The money can keep coming in for years and years, and the risks are much lower." (State of California, 2006)

White slavery in Russian and Eastern Europe as well as prostitution of women has become a problem that is significant for law enforcement in California as the EOC imports women and children "from eastern Europe and Russia with falsified visa applications and obtain false California drivers' licenses and other identification using counterfeit documents. Many are coming into the United States through Mexico into Southern California." (State of California, 2006) Women who are taken and forced into this rings are forced to prostitute and provide escort services, strip clubs, and massage parlors. While some are willing employed in this industry for money and to escape extreme poverty, others are forced "through indentured servitude. These women are threatened and beaten into submission. The EOC groups that bring them into the United States confiscate their visas and force them to pay off their travel debt, which they are rarely able to do." (State of California, 2006) in the 'Analysis and Trends' section of the State of California report it is related that the EOC "identifies and utilizes weaknesses, regulations, and policies regarding INS entitlement programs, and law enforcement to…[continue]

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