News In Brief

The Mob Economy: How much do you know about the mob’s big business?

Jaclyn Giovis Jan 20, 2011

Federal authorities on Thursday announced the biggest mob bust in FBI history: a total of 127 mobsters and associates were charged for criminal activity ranging from extortion to murder. Arrests of notorious wiseguys and their cohorts spanned across three states – New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island – and Italy.

But there’s one place the mob seems to be untouchable – in business. The mob operates a multi-billion dollar enterprise around the world. In Italy, crime groups reaped an estimated $110 billion in 2008, making organized crime the nation’s largest company.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW: The mafia’s effect on the economy
Kai Ryssdal talks with Greg Smith, reporter at the New York Daily News, about the recession’s effect on mob activities in light of the FBI’s largest mob bust in history. Listen now

During these times of economic crisis, the mob’s business has continued to flourish, according to Greg Smith, a reporter at the New York Daily News and author of the book “Nothing But Money: How the Mob Infiltrated Wall Street.”

“These guys are really resilient, they just find new ways to get money no matter what the status of the economy is, no matter what the status of the FBI is, they are always around,” Smith says.

After the housing market collapse, for example, they shifted their business away from construction corruption to mortgage fraud. Mob business dealings are also mostly cash-based. So Mobsters take advantage of their cash-flush position and go on a buying spree when other businesses are struggling to get by.

All of this got us thinking: How much do you know about the mob’s business? Take this quiz to find out if you’re a wiseguy know-it-all.

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