Vintage roleta with bichos. Source: Museum of the State Judicial Police of Rio de Janeiro.
I like to keep an eye on the Agência de Notícias de Polícia Federal, the press release page of the Brazilian feds.
It makes me feel young again, as if I were a cub reporter writing the police blotter for the old South Pasadena Review.
Operations are always deflagrados — unleashed, like a sudden storm — against criminal suspects. Whoever names the operations has a classical education and impressive cultural depth.
The war on “nickel-hunter” slot machines continues and spreads.
A very elaborate scheme of police corruption in Rio de Janeiro was uncovered in relation to this particular racket a few years back.
A senior aide to the state secretary of public safety was implicated, then assassinated while a fugitive. He had been the reputed leader of a paramilitary “militia” in the Western Zone of the city.
The previous director of the state judicial police, freshly elected to the state legislature, was also implicated. A federal congresswoman on leave from her job as a senior police inspector was overheard on a wiretap suggesting that a college turning state’s evidence “needs two [bullets] right between the horns.”
Subsequently, someone tried to put two right between the man’s horns in broad daylight along the main drag of the world-famous Southern Zone beaches. He survived.
Salvador/BA – This morning, the Federal Police Bahia unleashed Operation Reset, serving 14 arrest warrants and 37 search and seizure warrants. The action is designed to combat a criminal organization operating illegal gambling devices in Bahia state, in conjunction with related crimes such as bribe paying and receiving,, fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and “crimes against the popular economy.”
I will have to look that last one up. “Defrauding consumers,” something like that.
The suspects and their companies had been targeted previously by the federal police in Operation Aposta — “bet” — in 2007, which led to the booking and indictment of the same by the federal prosecutor in a federal organized crime tribunal for the state of Bahia..
Even while faced with a criminal indictment, the organization continued to commit the same crimes, changing only the method of importing electronic components into the state and using other companies to do so, demonstrating their complete contempt for police, the courts and the rule of law..
These companies possess all the infrastructure required to build and operate the gambling devices, from software to the installed machine. The machines are built with wooden frames, the electronics are installed, and then the finished product is transported and installed. Regular maintenance is provided..
An analysis of the documents seized during Aposta in 2007, showed that the organization had 7,000 machines in operation at the time, statewide.Today, we estimate the number to be nearly 20,000. Annual revenues are some $35 million.
We emphasize that this crime involves not just a misdemeanor gambling violation but also smuggling and racketeering.
It was official policy at a lot of Brazilian newspapers to refer to the gambling lords as contraventores — translatable as whatever the opposite of a felon is, my head just stopped working. Some semi-openly lobbied for legalization.
A perícia a ser realizada no material apreendido durante a manhã de hoje na Operação Reset deverá comprovar outras modalidades delitivas possivelmente praticadas pela organização como a falsificação de documentos público e particular, falsidade ideológica, uso de documento, corrupção passiva e ativa, sonegação de tributos, crimes contra a economia popular e lavagem de dinheiro.
Forenscs to be performed on the material seized this morning in Reset will likely provide evidence of further acts of forgery, identity theft, bribery, tax evasion, and so on, by the organization.
There will be a press conference today at 3 p.m. at the federal police HQ in Salvador.
Salvador, what a great town.
LAB-LD: Money Laundering Mining
I may have mentioned that I dream of someday writing a hamfisted financial potboiler about money laundering. There are a few examples of the genre, ghostwritten as vanity projects for Wall Streeters, mostly, but they are not very good.
Something in the genre of Bruce Sterling meets Rubem Fonseca or Garcia-Roza. Homages to John D. McDonald.
So it was interesting to read about how a new data mining laboratory is tracking down front businesses laundering money for the Rio WalMart of Bolivian Marching Powder.
É o Laboratório de Tecnologia contra Lavagem de Dinheiro (Lab-LD), sistema lançado em 2007, resultado de um convênio entre o Ministério da Justiça, Secretaria Nacional de Justiça, Secretaria de Segurança Pública e Polícia Civil do Estado, no âmbito da Estratégia Nacional de Combate à Corrupção e à Lavagem de Dinheiro (Enccla).
O Rio recebeu duas unidades do Lab-LD, uma para a Polícia Civil, outra para o Ministério Público do Rio de Janeiro (MPRJ). É uma estrutura simples, com equipe reduzida – seis pessoas na polícia e dez no MP -, que ocupam duas ou três salas pequenas. Patricia Alemany, coordenadora do laboratório na polícia, define o sistema como um conjunto de softwares, técnicas e profissionais especializados (contabilistas, economistas, estatísticos) que trabalham na análise de dados.