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Black Market Billions - How Organized Retail Crime Funds Global Terrorists by Hitha Prabhakar
Date: 02 28 2012
By Alain Burrese
I found "Black Market Billions: How Organized Retail Crime Funds Global Terrorists" by Hitha Prabhakar to be a fascinating and engaging read on a topic that, while I knew about, I didn't realize was as big and far reaching as it is. The book was quite engaging with the descriptions of the various links in the long organized retail crime (ORC) chain. And I didn't realize how much of the money made from these crime rings is shipped overseas and that some finds its way to terrorist groups.
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.
Alain Burrese, J.D. is a writer, speaker, and mediator. He has authored several books (including Lost Conscience and the Tough Guy Wisdom series) and a number of instructional DVDs (including Hapkido Cane and the Lock On Joint Locking Essentials series). He has also reviewed hundreds of books, DVDs, and products. His Warrior's Edge programs focus on safety, martial arts, self-defense, and living with The Warrior's Edge. His Black Belt Communicator programs focus on effective communication for conflict resolution, negotiation, leadership, and mediation. You can find out about Alain, read articles and reviews, see video clips of his DVDs, and more at http://www.burrese.com/blog.