International Cybercrime, Cybercrime Cartels & RICO
Pick any country on a world map. That country has a line around it – its national border. It defines the country’s size and shape – its identity on the planet
But one “country” has no conventional borders. Its identity is electronic, is ever-changing. Its size continually grows. This country is the Internet. It also has an evil resident – International Cybercrime and its cartels. International Cybercrime cartels’ activity, many experts believe, has outstripped international drug cartels in worldwide profit.
International Cybercrime (or computer crime) is any illegal action involving a computer network or a single computer. The network or computer may be used to commit a crime, or they may be the target of a crime. This illegal activity is often the product of international crime organizations (or cybercrime cartels) with a global reach which goes beyond national borders.
Some examples of online international organized crime:
- – Couples in the U.S. are swindled by an organized online condo conspiracy being run in Romania. Local real estate agents are unsuspecting participants.
- – U.S. travel agents are unwitting pawns in online getaway package schemes created by a criminal group in the Philippines.
- – Online shoppers buy a not-yet released DVD, then discover they’ve been conned – money gone, no DVD. The local online distributor has been tricked as well. The source in Hong Kong is linked to a possible terror cell.
- – Cyber hackers, coordinated in 26 countries, attempt to steal $40 million from ATM systems in the U.S. Accomplices, apprehended locally, claim they were coerced or duped into participating by an international crime ring.
- – U.S. prosecutors shut down a Costa Rica-based digital currency company, asserting it aided organized crime by storing, distributing and laundering over $6 billion worldwide. Digital money, like the Internet, knows no borders.
- – Organized overseas hackers attempt to steal information from shopping networks and other user-friendly sites every day. These services are often innocent participants in the thefts.
- – Phony “urgent” email requests for money or an “update” of personal account information are being sent by organized con artists phishing. The points of origin? Often it’s Africa, Asia, or Eastern Europe . . . but it can exist wherever the Internet is accessible.
As the FBI notes, “Organized crime comes at us from every corner of the globe.”
Internationally, many countries have adopted laws which attempt to curtail cybercrime. But, in truth, these laws have limited reach: They work only within their own national borders. As previously said, the Internet has no borders.
In addition, there is no worldwide standard regarding cyber security. International organizations such as INTERPOL and the UN attempt to bridge these limitations, but international cooperation lags far behind. Some countries, profiting from cybercrime activity within their borders, discretely ignore it.
Here in the U.S. the single-most effective statute used to combat cybercrime and the cartels behind it is RICO – the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Passed by the Federal Government, it is used to quell the activity, formation and proliferation of organized crime within the U.S. It is a sweeping piece of legislation.
RICO creates an all-in-one tool of prosecution and restitution with regard to racketeering activities including money laundering, drug and human trafficking, securities fraud, foreign bank account fraud, copyright infringement and acts of terrorism.
Punishments, often severe, can range from individual operations to those managed by organized cybercrime cartels. Multiple U.S. federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies wield its widespread powers.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s anti-money laundering unit, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), also figures in heavily in the battle against cybercrime because most of the criminal activity targeted involves money. The advent of cyber currency has dramatically increased this involvement.
An international criminal attorney here in the U.S. has his hands full. Federal authorities, unable to go after overseas criminal organizations, frequently target local – often innocent – players at this end. Given RICO’s far-reaching latitude – and the heightened awareness regarding cybercrime – these agencies hit hard first, then ask questions. And tell half the story.
Often, when RICO charges, investigations and indictments have been leveled at a defendant, he too is a victim.
The Blanch Law Firm is not satisfied with any agency’s findings or allegations. We do not act on these. We act on behalf of our client, diligently questioning and discovering the whole story.
On a regular basis our firm, with an experienced team of International Cybercrime criminal defense litigators, successfully negotiates this web of legal confusion and emotional upheaval.
The Blanch Law Firm handles cases in the greater New York area, as well as in Los Angeles, Orange County, greater Southern California, and Houston, TX.
If you are the focus of an International Cybercrime criminal investigation – or if an investigation is pending – contact The Blanch Law Firm by calling 212 736 3900. Initial consultations are complimentary and confidential.