The Danger Of Wealth – Organised Criminal Organisations Target Rich People


April 21, 2013

Source: fa-mag

Facing the end of his athletic career, a famous sports figure decided to try his hand at movies. He had a good shot at some lead roles and everything seemed to be going his way-but his personal life. A security firm he’d hired found out his girlfriend was not all she claimed to be. She’d been a prostitute, had a substance abuse problem, and those were just the issues they knew about. Feeling he wasn’t in love with her, the actor decided to sever ties.

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But his girlfriend wasn’t going to go that easy. She warned him that if he dumped her, she’d run to the tabloids claiming he was drunk and abusive. The fact that it wasn’t true was irrelevant. He saw his promising movie career being jeopardized. He decided to offer her a monetary settlement. He and his attorney invited the woman to lunch in a public place, with his security detail in tow. The attorney offered the woman $500,000 to $1 million if she would sign a cease-and-desist contract and walk away. She suddenly stood up, refused the offer, became irate and started to leave. As the attorney tried to calm her, she grabbed a steak knife and lunged at her ex-boyfriend, slashing the knife in the air near his face. The attorney intervened and was slashed across the arm before the security detail could grab her. She was booked for assault with a deadly weapon. She eventually agreed to a settlement and the actor dropped the charges.

“The attorney earned his keep. And so did we. But it’s an example of how things can really get out of hand,” says Alon Stivi, whose firm, Direct Measures International, provided the sports star’s security.

Stivi, who counts Warren Buffett among his former clients, says he’s dealt with wealthy individuals for almost 20 years, and the biggest challenge for them is knowing whom to trust.

“Us regular people don’t have to worry about that. But once you become ultra-wealthy, especially if you made a fortune or got an inheritance or you invented something, people come out of the woodwork pretending to be your long lost friend, and it can become a serious problem,” Stivi says.

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The wealthy walk a minefield, security experts say. From needy relatives and parasitic partners to unstable individuals or employees with ulterior motives (such as a nanny who takes the job to infiltrate their home), the rich are constantly surrounded by people who have the potential to do them harm. And that harm can include everything from identity theft to extortion, even kidnapping.

“Most prominent people, at one time or another-whether they’re from the entertainment or business community or politics-are going to attract the attention of someone who will focus on them more than they would the average person, simply because of their wealth,” says William Besse, an executive director with the security firm Andrews International. “Money has its advantages. But it also attracts an element who may intend to do wealthy people some harm, to take advantage of that celebrity or wealth.”
While affluent people need security, they don’t always need men with dark suits and earpieces standing vigil. What they do need is to screen more and reveal less personal information, according to experts.

One of the biggest leaks in a wealthy family’s security is their children’s Facebook accounts, experts say. Highly sophisticated criminals will prowl the Internet for any information they can get about their target, and Facebook pages are ripe with things like vacation photos and people’s dates of birth. So while the parents in a wealthy family may have a heavy security detail around them, their children may unknowingly be their weakest link.

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“A lot of clients don’t really think they’re vulnerable until we actually point things out,” says Dorothy Sarna, senior vice president of Risk Management Services for the Private Client Group at Chartis, which insures one third of the Forbes 400.

Whom To Trust?
It takes time for the wealthy to be able to decipher who is trustworthy and who is not, Stivi says. Some fall back on childhood friends, thinking they can trust the people who knew them before they were rich. But those relationships can sour when the wealthy individual hires a security firm that vets all of her friends and intimate partners. Many clients are reluctant to do background checks on their friends for just that reason, Stivi says.

“They feel that by doing that to another human being, it removes the personal touch. It feels like a business transaction,” he says.

But it’s essential, he says.

“It’s either that or they wind up settling out of court with some dirtbag who meant them no good. And all of that could have been avoided if they were properly screened,” Stivi says.

And that may be the best-case scenario. Kidnapping is actually one of the greatest risks the wealthy face, and it’s often perpetrated by someone they know-someone who has intimate knowledge of their comings and goings. Abductions often occur in locations where the victims feel most secure. About 90% of kidnappings occur within view of the victim’s home or office.
“The people who are closest to them and get to know their routines present their greatest vulnerability, says William Besse, an executive director at Andrews International, a security firm based in Valencia, Calif. “If it’s a high-profile criminal act, a burglary or robbery or kidnapping, the people involved are going to place that target under surveillance, and they’re going to try to learn as much as they can about this person.”

Exxon executive Sidney Reso was abducted from his own driveway in wealthy Morris Township, N.J., in 1992. Tuxedo manufacturer Harvey J. Weinstein was kidnapped in 1993 by a man who worked for Weinstein as a collar maker. Weinstein had just finished his customary breakfast at his favorite diner when he was forced into a car and whisked away. In 2003, billionaire hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert was kidnapped at gunpoint while leaving work. They nabbed Lampert, who at the time owned the $9 billion private investment fund ESL Investments Inc., at his office after seeing that he went in every Saturday and parked in the same spot-the one with his name on it.

“A bunch of guys went onto the Internet to find out who the wealthy people in the area were. Lampert wasn’t at the top of the list, but whoever was had security measures in place, and they felt Lampert was an easier target,” says Frank Rodman, president and COO of Truefort, a New York-based security advisory firm that exclusively services the wealthy.

David Letterman’s painter hatched a plan to kidnap Letterman’s son, a plan that might have come to fruition had the painter’s accomplice not told police about it.

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“He had the access and the opportunity. He also happened to have a criminal record that a basic due diligence at the front end might have found,” Rodman says.

Security experts say sophisticated criminals, from kidnappers to ex-KGB agents who are now unemployed and freelancing, use people like domestic help to infiltrate the lives and businesses of wealthy people. Kidnapping isn’t the only crime in which they’ve been involved. Some steal credit card numbers and bank account information, as well as other personal information that allows them to commit identity theft or fraud.

While kidnappings in the U.S. are rare, they are not beyond the realm of possibility, so wealthy individuals should prepare for those as well, security firms say.

“The success ratio of kidnap ransom in the U.S. is very low. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a few idiots out there wanting to try,” says Ron Williams, a former Secret Service agent who has protected former U.S. presidents from Nixon to Clinton, and now owns his own security firm.

Home invasions are more frequent in the U.S. than kidnappings, Williams says. Over the last two years, Beverly Hills and Bel Air, Calif., have seen a rise in crimes in which wealthy women who have been shopping near their homes are followed back to their houses by gang members, who slip in the gate right behind them. They then rob them in their own garage or driveway and leave.

“They’ll see a woman wearing a Rolex, driving a Mercedes, and they’ll follow her home,” Williams says.

Williams advises his affluent clients to keep a low profile when they go out. People of substantial means should fly under the radar screen-meld into the environment, he says. Drive a Prius instead of a Rolls-Royce and leave the Rolex home, Williams advises.

Kidnapping is actually a greater risk for the wealthy when they travel abroad. Kidnapping rates, internationally, are on the rise, experts say, and it’s being perpetrated across the globe, from organized criminals in Brazil and Russia to drug lords in Mexico, where kidnapping has become a lucrative sideline to the drug business.

In Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, there’s also been a rash of so-called “express kidnappings” in the last two years, wherein a taxi driver spots a wealthy individual-perhaps because of her expensive jewelry or shoes-picks her up, but then instead of driving her to her destination, takes her to a remote location where his associates are waiting. The tourist is then forced to go to several ATMs and take money out of her accounts. Some kidnappings are done close to midnight so if the ATM has a daily cash limit, the abductors can wait until after midnight and get another bite at the apple. Afterward, their victims are usually let go.
“It’s pretty easy for the kidnappers. It’s not as much work as having to hold someone for ransom,” says Tim Gaspar, CEO of Gaspar Insurance Services in Encino, Calif.

“Kidnap and ransom” insurers say they are getting as many as two claims a month for express kidnappings, Gaspar says.
Some wealthy individuals have purchased special GPS devices so that if they’re abducted, authorities can track down their signal and find them. BrickHouse Security sells a product called Spark Nano, which is a GPS tracker with a panic button that, if pressed, sends an instant alert to a security company monitoring the device.  It sells for $99, plus a monthly fee of about $30 to $40.

Another product is Executrac, which is basically just an app for a BlackBerry smartphone that turns the phone into a GPS device. It also includes a panic button. There’s no monthly fee, outside of the fees already charged by the person’s cell phone carrier.
“We’ve definitely seen an increased interest in the panic button feature,” says Todd Morris, president of BrickHouse Security in New York. “People are traveling internationally, leaving their children behind. They want to know that when they’re gone in Europe, if their kids have trouble, they can push a button and get help.”

Practically speaking, the Spark Nano makes more sense, Morris says, because the first thing a kidnapper does is throw his victim’s cell phone away. The Spark Nano device, on the other hand, is a tiny device that can be easily hidden. One can keep it in his or her pocket and depress the panic button without anyone noticing. Also, the battery lasts five to seven days.

Plugging Leaks
In general, security experts say the less public information out there about an individual, the less vulnerable he is. That’s why they recommend that wealthy people do not register their homes, cars, boats, planes or any other significant assets in their own name, or under their home or company address.

A good security firm will do a Google search on its client to see how much and what type of information comes up. The firm can then contact the disseminators of the information to make sure it is removed from public view.

If the client has an airplane, for example, it should not be named something that would easily identify the aircraft’s owner, experts say. If you’re Oprah Winfrey, you don’t register your airplane under the name “Harpo, Inc.” Anyone looking at an airplane’s aviation records can tell which planes are coming and going from the small airports, and with that information they can determine who is likely to be flying in and out.

Most security firms will do a basic risk assessment of their client to determine where the holes are. They look at the individual’s public profile: the level of his public prominence, the issues surrounding him in the public domain, the likelihood he will attract unwarranted attention. Those working in the financial sector, for instance, are vulnerable these days because so many people have lost their jobs, while those on Wall Street seem to be doing fairly well. Indeed, Dick Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers, was punched in the face while working out at Lehman Brothers’ gym, just after the firm announced it was going bankrupt. AIG executives had protesters picketing outside their homes after their bonuses were announced.

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A corporate communications employee at one financial firm says she spent half a day on the telephone pleading with The Wall Street Journal not to publish a photo of one of the firm’s bankers if the paper was also going to publicly reveal the amount of his bonus. Some fear the fallout if New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo makes good on his threat to release bankers’ bonus amounts if he is elected governor.

“There could be laid off employees, because of the poor practices of a particular company, and yet employees see the heads of those companies getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses. That can make those people who received bonuses potential targets,” says Philip Farina, CEO of Farina and Associates, a Miami-based security firm that specializes in travel and hospitality. It’s changed the mentality on Wall Street. Where some in the financial sector used to strut their accomplishments and wealth, many would now rather lay low, security sources say.

It’s not just executives in financial services who are potential targets. Farina knew a corporate officer at a non-financial services company who began receiving death threats at her home from a disgruntled employee who’d been let go years earlier. The employee was identified before he was able to carry out those threats.

“Some people just wake up one day and say, ‘This is the day I’m going to do something,’ ” Farina says. 

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How To Deal With Extortion / Blackmail


Extortion is a crime in which one person forces another person to do something against his will, generally to give up money or other property, by threat of violence, property damage, damage to the person’s reputation, or extreme financial hardship. Extortion involves the victim’s consent to the crime, but that consent is obtained illegally. 

If you had a business, and people came to you demanding money for “protection” or else they would rob/kill you, what would you do?

Organized crime syndicates use extortion methods more and more often.. Remember – You are not alone. Help is available. ABP World Group Ltd. Specialize in helping extortion victims. – World Wide.

Examples of Extortion

A classic example of extortion is the “protection” scheme where figures with ties to organized crime demand that shop owners pay for their protection to prevent something bad (such as an assault on the shopkeeper or damage to his or her store or goods) from happening.  Many states also considerblackmail, where a victim is forced to pay someone to prevent them from releasing information that could damage their reputation or their business, to be a form of extortion.

Typically, as in those examples, extortion involves threats of future violence or harm rather than immediate violence or harm, but extortion can involve immediate violence.  For example, it would still be extortion if the offenders in the above example assaulted the shopkeeper to force him to pay them the required protection money instead of threatening to do so in the future. In such cases, extortion becomes very similar to robbery.

How to deal with it

  1. 1

    Whatever you do, don’t take the situation into your own hands. Harming others or yourself is never the answer, and never will be. Be aware that the job of punishing and stopping crimes is what police are for. Stay calm and don’t make any rash decisions. You aren’t alone, and you can get out of this.

  2. 2

    Talk to someone. Tell a friend who you are CERTAIN you can trust, an understanding family member, or a smart and calm teacher.

  3. 3

    Once you have cleared your head, think about what you’re going to do. The person you talked to might have already suggested some things you should do. Take them into account.

  1. 4

    Make a plan. Make sure that the plan can’t go wrong. If it does happen to go wrong, it won’t be anything that you will regret.

  2. 5

    Now, put your plan into action. Call the police and go ahead with it. They may require you to go through another blackmailing session so they have proof the person is blackmailing you. If so, don’t worry. The police will be close by and get to you within seconds. You don’t have to go through with it. They can simply make sure you are well away from the person. Note: Sometimes the risk  can be so serious, that the Police can`t be involved.

  • Talking to somebody regularly while all of this is happening or writing down everything can help get out all of those mixed up, strong feelings.
  • Do things to make sure you’re calm and healthy while this is happening. Don’t just let go and panic-try to maintain your daily schedule and stay calm.
  • Don’t panic and think, “I don’t have anyone, I’ll never get out of this!” Even if you live hundreds of miles away from family and friends, there are lifelines and counselors who are specially trained to help. If you have nobody, pick up the phone and call a hotline, or schedule an appointment with a counselor. Face to face contact is probably the best. Tell this person everything-starting from who the person is, how it started, and why they are blackmailing you.
  • Make sure there is no danger involved, and nothing against the law. It may be tempting to punch the person blackmailing once the cops have got them, but that is not a good idea. Your plan should involve authorities of some kind, unless the information the blackmailer is threatening to reveal could land you in jail.
  • Never try to do this alone.
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NOTE: We are always available 24/7

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031-753 83 77 Sweden

Stalking – how to make it stop


When most of us think “stalking,” it’s the well-publicized incidents involving celebrities that come to mind, but you don’t need to be famous to be a stalker’s fixation.

Stalking is a crime of obsession, and is often associated with different types of psychopathology, including psychosis and severe personality disorders. Depending on the stalker, behavior may range from overtly aggressive threats and actions, to repeated phone calls, letters or approaches. Stalking harassment may go on for years, causing the victim to exist in a constant state of stress and fear. The violent aspects of stalking behavior often escalate over time, and in extreme cases, can end in murder (Douglas 1998).

Stalking Behavior

There are anti-stalking laws in place, both federal and state, designed to protect victims of stalkers. Under these laws, perpetrators can be charged with stalking for repeatedly:

  • Following or appearing within the sight of another.
  • Approaching or confronting another individual in a public or private place.
  • Appearing at the work place or residence of another.
  • Entering or remaining on an individual’s property.
  • Contacting a person by telephone.
  • Sending postal mail or e-mail to another.

Stalking Danger

Too often victims do not fully appreciate the true danger of being stalked, and this can be a fatal mistake. If you feel uncomfortable with the repeated advances, gifts or communications of an “admirer,” trust your instincts, and always err or the side of caution. All stalking is a crime and all stalkers should be considered dangerous.

David Beatty, Executive Director of Justice Solutions, Inc. and former Director of Public Policy for the National Victim Center, observes that stalking, “is one of the rare opportunities where a potential murderer raises his hand and says ‘I’m gonna be killing somebody.’ Stalking provides an opportunity to intervene in what seems to be, in many cases, an inevitable escalation towards violence and murder.”

Evidence of Stalking

Every situation is different. There are different types of stalkers and no set guidelines, so each victim must use his or her own judgment as to what actions to take. But don’t go it alone. Seek support from your friends and family. Whether or not you plan to file formal charges, report the harassment to your local law enforcement agency. It is important to build your case against the stalker by providing the police with records of the stalker’s behavior towards you (Kamphus, 2000), including any or all of the following:

  1. Keep a diary or a log of the stalker’s attempted interactions with you, noting the time, place, verbal or written communication, gifts, and sightings.
  2. Save all voice mail and email messages left by the offender.
  3. If you can do so safely, obtain a photo or videotape of the stalker.
  4. Collect other identifying information, such as license plate number, model and make of car, and a description of the stalker’s appearance.

Protect Yourself from Stalkers

Unfortunately it is always the victim who is initially penalized in a case of stalking; and the penalty is persistent stress and fear, as well as the inconvenience of having to make significant changes to your daily routine for the purpose of increasing safety. The Stalking Resource Center suggests that the following precautions are important to take if you are being targeted:

  • Travel with friends and do not walk alone.
  • Change your telephone number to an unlisted number.
  • Vary the times and routes you take to work or to frequently visited places.
  • Notify your family and friends, and explain the situation to your employer so that they may protect you at work. Provide them with a photograph or description of your stalker.
Published by ABP World Group Ltd. Security Solutions
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