Thursday, January 19, 2012

Organized Crime turning to Planned Giving instead of Loansharking

Police say that criminal gangs across the globe are using a new technique to raise money – Planned Giving fundraising.

The Centre for the Study of International Bad Guys released a new study that says the Mafia, the Russian mob, biker gangs, LA street gangs, the Japanese Yakuza and parts of the Tea Party movement are all turning away from traditional loansharking operations and embracing Planned Giving. The study found that more and more criminals are asking unwitting victims to put a charitable donation to a criminal foundation in their wills. Other, more sophisticated gangs are using complicated life insurance or stock swap schemes that give victims unprecedented tax savings and give the criminals hard cash for their evil purposes.

“Loansharking dried up after the mortgage crisis in the US. The loansharks couldn’t compete with US banks who would give a mortgage to anyone who looked remotely alive, and even a few dead people. The criminals had to look for another source of income, and many have turned to Planned Giving,” said FBI spokesperson Brewer Snidely.

Experts agree the new wave of Planned Giving has largely been undetected by police forces around the world. To date only a handful of criminals have been brought to justice for the fundraising schemes. In the US, the FBI recently raided the offices of the Foundation for Thugs, a New York-based charity that convinced more than 2,000 people to leave donations in their wills.

Testifying before a US senate committee, ex-Foundation CEO Director of Finance turned prosecution witness Wendell Osborne said that his organization was really a front for the infamous Cannelloni Mob, and a few area hospitals.

“We’se would go up to guys we knew and tell ‘em that they should leave a legacy for they’se children of tomorrow by putting a small donation to our Foundation in their will. We figured that in five years, maybe ten, we’d have a steady source of revenue from the Foundation to do charitable things wit, like rub out other Planned Giving operations that was on our turf,” said Osborne.

Police seized several truckloads worth of evidence from the Foundation’s offices, including 100,000 tri-fold brochures explaining the benefits of a reverse insurance planned giving investment.

“We’se told them they get real tax savings today, and makes the world a better place tomorrow and stuff. All along, though, we was up to no good.”

The money that the Foundation received went into a charitable education fund to help teach disadvantaged inner city youth about careers in the mob, including a cool website, brochures, some branded hoodies and a wicked hot video.

Other legitimate charities have been reporting that their client base for Planned Giving has been drying up.

“Already three times last week some of our planned giving donors were roughed up by hoodlums asking them to increase their tax savings and help build an endowment to help the children of tomorrow. One of our planned giving officers was even threatened with a knife at our booth at a community fair by gangsters who said we were on their ‘turf’. It’s getting hot out there,” said Snidely Hospital Foundation CEO Dennis Drumming.

Police are warning people, especially seniors, to be on the lookout for criminals representing evil Foundations asking for planned giving donations.

“Chances are, if they have a lot of tattoos and wear a lot of leather and gold necklaces and stuff, they’re not legitimate planned giving officers,” advises FBI spokesperson Brewer Snidely. “And if their Foundation has a name with ‘evil’, ‘bad’ or ‘criminal’ in it, that’s a giveaway, too.”

Still, police say telling good guys from bad guys in the Planned Giving world is hard because both offer genuine legacies for the future and rich tax benefits. Last week, police in Ontario arrested the staff of an entire hospital foundation by mistake when they saw that the charity was asking people for planned gifts.

Despite many promising leads and the testimony of several witnesses US prosecutors have so far failed to make a case against the Foundation for Thugs. The case had to be dropped when Osborne, their star witness, was assassinated by two women who claim they used to work for her in the Foundation’s finance department.