dimecres, 28 d’abril del 2010

Kindred (and criminal) spirits

"Blanchard had first met the Boss a few months earlier in London at an electronics store. He could tell they were kindred spirits by a glance at the Boss's purchases: eight DVR recorders. Blanchard knew you didn't buy a load like that for anything but surveillance. The two struck up a conversation.

Later that day, a car arrived to take Blanchard to a London café, where the Boss and a dozen Kurdish henchmen, most from northern Iraq, were waiting in the basement, smoking hookahs. The Boss filled Blanchard in on his operation, which spanned Europe and the Middle East and included various criminal activities, including counterfiting and fraud. The latest endeavour was called skimming: gleaning active debit-and-credit-card numbers by patching into the ISDN lines that companies use to process payments. The group manufactured counterfeit cards magnetised and embossed with the stolen numbers and then used them to withdraw the maximum daily limits before the fraud was reported. It was a lucrative venture for the Boss's network, which funnelled a portion of its take to Kurdish separatists in Iraq.

(Picture provided by Your brush with the law: art and crime)