Thanks! \:\)
Here’s another in the series:

No…but they’ll try if they find out about your racket:

The Mafia (and other organized crime gangs), like the Robber Barons of a century ago, believes fervently that competition is bad, monopoly is good. While they guard their territories zealously, they also want to avoid costly, destructive wars. So, they often resort to “cartelization” such as divvying up territories with other mobs families or working out arrangements with other ethnic gangs. But they don’t tolerate freelance operations—if they find freelancers operating in or near their territories.

Let’s say you decide to open a racket that’s in or near Mob territory—gambling, loan sharking, distributing stolen goods, basically any criminal activity that’s not the occasional car theft or burglary. The local Mob guy, who watches his territory like a hawk, will spot you immediately. He’ll give you a couple of months to build up your business. Then he’ll descend on you, and, in menacing (but not yet overtly violent) terms, explain that you’ve committed a mortal sin for which the penalty is death. But, he can see that you didn’t realize the enormity of your crime. So, out of the goodness his heart, he’ll let you continue in business. But you have to pay him a “fine” of $50k for having violated his territory, and you need to come up with a “nut” of $5k/week as your “license” to operate. In return, he’ll “protect” you from interlopers and will keep the cops at bay.

If you’re smart, you’ll apologize profusely, eagerly agree to the terms—and pack your stuff, change your name and move to another state immediately. If you’re greedy and stupid (as are most criminals), you’ll think this is a pretty good deal. Woe is you! You now have to come up with his “nut” every week or, like his loan shark victims, pay 6% vig per week. You also become a potential patsy for his schemes with his police contacts, which all Mob guys maintain. So, your Mob “protector” will, perhaps, murder someone who owes him money and didn’t pay. He knows that the cops he deals with love to close big cases fast—they get glory, promotions, etc. So he’ll go to his friendly police contact and tell him that you did the crime, providing just enough detail to make it convincing without implicating himself. The cops will arrest you and charge you with the crime. You might hire a good lawyer and, after immense time and expense, be cleared. But by that time, your Mob “protector” will already have taken over the business you worked so hard to build up, and couldn’t look after while you were in jail awaiting trial.

Mobsters also regard anyone operating a racket that comes to their attention as fair game—and that applies even if you’re not in or near Mob territory. Suppose you operate a stock-fraud “boiler room” on Wall Street or in a suburban shopping mall. Sooner or later, you’ll defraud someone who knows someone who’s in the Mob—and asks his/her Mob contact for help. The Mob guy, under the guise of “helping” his friend whom you’ve victimized, will call on you and announce that you have a new partner. What are you going to do—call the police? Nope: pay or die.

However, Mob guys want to avoid wars. And they’re not very internationally minded—they are wary of ethnic gangs that they don’t understand and can’t muscle easily. So, if you’re a member of a recent immigrant group (Asian, African, West Indian, Eastern European), and you establish a racket within that ethnic neighborhood, you’d be wise to either recruit a gang of thugs from the neighborhood, or ally yourself with other gangs of your ethnic background. The first time a neighboring Mob guy comes calling, just “show your colors”—muster the troops. He’ll retreat gracefully, or return with a higher-up and negotiate a business deal that might actually work to your advantage--as long as you keep both eyes wide open.

Last edited by Turnbull; 03/26/07 01:36 PM.

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