Organized crime has infiltrated almost every aspect of society. These criminals seem to have their hands in almost every conceivable plot that can make them money. As technology advances, they continue to come up with clever new ways to exploit it for their own good. However, criminal groups are still best known for some of the long running activities they have participated in for years.
Extortion is one of the best known techniques that organized crime uses to make money. It is a method of forcing people to pay money for something they were never trying to buy in the first place. Most often, the service that was provided was protection against thugs. Unfortunately, the very people who were demanding money were also the thugs that business owners needed protection from. Criminals collect money on a weekly or monthly basis, and in return they would agree not to harm the person making the payments – as long as the money was delivered on time.
One of the most common actions of organized crime groups is theft. This was especially true during the early years of the 19th century when crime families would hijack trucks that were carrying shipments of packed full with expensive goods. The criminals would then sell off these products, usually for a lower price than they would otherwise be available for, or use them for trade or as a reward for an act of loyalty. The criminals made money and the customers received what they felt was a good deal. Armed robbery of warehouses was also frequently done by members of crime groups, as it was another way to score a large number of valuables with very little risk.
Criminals get their money in many different ways, but sometimes the cash they took could be traced back to them. This was especially true if they were to rob a bank, because the serial numbers for the money could be recorded to make it easy to identify if it was found later on. That makes a process, money laundering, one of their most important activities. To launder money, criminals take stolen profits and place them in several different locations, most often foreign banks which would not be given a list of serial numbers to watch for. The money that gets deposited will not be the same money that is withdrawn later, so when the criminals collect their investments it will be safe for general use.
Many organized crime groups became notorious for their participation in a variety of illegal activities. People who were looking for drugs, prostitution, guns and alcohol during the time of Prohibition turned to criminals who were always ready and able to provide them, but at a very inflated price. Now and then, some of the things that crime groups had cornered the market on were made legal, but they always manage to find new activities to participate in. More modern crime groups are guilty of white collar criminal activities such as insurance fraud, insider trading, and identity theft through the use of credit card scams. These deeds may not be as violent as the activities that are often associated with criminals, but they are a huge money making racket, and a great detriment to society as a whole.