By Clarence Walker, Investigative Crime Journalist
How many times have we heard these words? "Crime doesn't pay"....or a Judge will say, "it doesn't pay to commit crimes".
It is true crime didn't pay for some lawbreakers who were caught and lost their freedom and every dime they earned. Swindler Ken Madoff earned billions running a ponzi scheme that bilked investors and now he's been caught. With the exception of having already spent 'hundreds of millons' and facing life in prison Madoff will probably lose all the money he may have left. Did crime pay for this billionaire crook?
You be the judge.
But there's a group of outlaws who keep winning in the crime game and seemingly they .never lose. They don't own banks, casinos, nor authorized by government to print 'money on demand' but they've mastered the money game of making crime pay 24-7. They're not strangers. Their history etched in the annals of the crime world. They are no other than Italian Organized Crime aka Mafia. And they make billions!
Financial experts said the global recession has undoubtedly struck European countries hard but Italy's organized crime thrives in the midst of it all. Italy's world known organized crime groups are: (1) Sicilian Mafia. (2) Camorra (3) 'Ndrangheta (4) Sacra Corona Unita. Bloomberg.com reported the Italian Mafia's revenue in 2008 had increased 40 percent.
Example: Italy's organized crime syndicates grossed at least $167 billion dollars in 2008, up from $90 billion euros in 2007, according to figures supplied by Eurispes and SOS Impresa. Eurispes is a worldwide research organization and SOS Impresa consist of businessmen who investigate Mafia extortion. Extensive research based on long-term investigations and apprehension of organized crime gangsters, drug trafficking ranked the number#1 top revenue, bringing in approximately $59 billion euros.
Other Mafia players earned $5.8 billion euros from selling arms, the Rome-based research group reported Friday, January 30, 2009. "During a crisis, people lower their guard", says Robert Saviano. Saviano became an overnight success in 2007 after publishing a bestselling book called "Gomorrah". Gomorrah, superbly document the history of the notorious Camorra crime bosses. "Studies show the criminal market never suffer during a crisis", Saviano explained. "I'm convinced this crisis brings huge advantage to criminal syndicates". As the global recession tighten its grip banks are recluctant to risk loans.
Mugshots in OC roundup.
This area of finance brings the Mafia on shore. They loan money at high interest rates. Consequences are detrimental even sometimes fatal if the borrower fail to pay up on time. "With people more desperate for money, loan sharking thrives", said Amedeo Vitagliano, an Italian crime expert at Eurispes research organization. "While the country is on its kneess, the Mob rejoice".
So how can the experts know the amount of illegal money earned by organized crime? What guidelines are utilized to caculate the Mafia's big payoffs? Simple math.
Mafia wealth is reflected in police asset seizures of $5.2 billions in 2008. $2.9 billions seized from the Camorra; $1.4 billion from the Sicilian Mob based in Sicily, and $231 millions from the 'Ndrangheta syndicate. The Eurispe report confimed a recent estimation by the Interior Ministry that 'Ndrangheta alone generate $45 billion euros, or 3% of GDP(Gross Domesticated Products) from dominating the European cocaine trade.
Here's another breakdown of revenues earned in 2008 by Italian organized crime based on their network of operations:
(1) loan shark: $12.6 billion euros
(2) protection rackets: $9 billion
(3) Arms trafficking and smuggling crimes: $5.8 billion In 2006, previous research showed that organized crime made $128 billions, a sum equivalent at that time to 7 percent of Italy's GDP.
For 2005, the crime syndicates took in approximately $106 billions. But the economy in Italy can swing back and forth with a double edged sword. Many businesses not particularly connected with the mob engage in shady pratices of doing business off the books.
Gian Maria Fara, an Eurispes chairman said the deeper underground economy don't reflect gross domestic product figures. "During good times, having a big underground sector can be a burden since the underground products isn't taxable and the state must account for it by increasing taxes on those who actually pay taxes".
"In this country," Fara added, "much more money goes around than whats actually represented by official statistics". "Italy's black economy has grown to a staggering 35% of GDP, approximately $540 billion euros".
Despite mass arrests of Italian crime gangsters over the years and the capture of several family bosses and high-ranking soldiers the Italian Mafia is a phenonomal money machine. They are a force the law must deal with in years to come.
Each day from extortion the combined groups earn at least $90 to 100$ billon euros per year, $250 million euros a day and $10 million euros an hour. If that's not making crime pay....then nobody commit crimes.... but we know this isn't true. People commit crimes every day.
Just ask the Mafia. They make billions and nobody can stop them.
Any comments or information to add to this story contact Journalist Clarence Walker at: CWalkerinvestigate@gmail.com or call:713-616-0385.