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“Most people wouldn’t think that buying an off-the-truck designer bag could fund terrorism. In my three decades of experience as a former Detective Investigator with the NYPD and now running a private investigation firm, I can say that Hitha understands and explains why this is a dangerous mentality to have. In Black Market Billions, she spells out why the mindset that a stolen designer handbag is a bargain disappears once you consider that your purchase may be funding a deadly organized crime group.”
—Thomas Ruskin, Former NYPD Detective Investigator and President of CMP Protective and Investigative Group, Inc.
“Written like a financial thriller, Black Market Billions shines a bright light on the dark side of capitalism. The book opened my eyes to what really goes on behind the scenes in high-end retail, and the best part is you can feel her courage and passion on every page.”
—Lawrence G. McDonald, The New York Times Bestselling Author, A Colossal Failure of Common Sense
“Black Market Billions is a must-read for all government policymakers, business leaders, opinion makers, and consumers. With global markets in chaos, states in recession, and extremists waging war against civilization, few topics are as vital to our security as the nexus between organized retail crime and terrorism. This book will change the debate as we come to understand just how much terrorism depends on funds raised by crime. This is an immensely important book for understanding why terrorism remains part of modern politics and why societies must find ways to cut off the financial tentacles of support.”
—William C. Martel, Associate Professor of International Security Studies, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
“Counterfeiting is one of the least-acknowledged, most-damaging crimes of our time. In Black Market Billions, Hitha exposes this nefarious world of the violent syndicates and the crimes they commit—human trafficking, forced child labor, money laundering—and discovers that the profits fund even worse acts such as terrorism. You’ll never look at a fake Louis Vuitton handbag the same way again.”
—Dana Thomas, Author, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster
Organized retail crime is now a $38 billion business. Synchronized global teams are pilfering immense volumes of high-value products, counterfeiting even more—and using the profits to support the world’s most vicious terrorists and criminal gangs.
In this eye-opening exposé, business journalist Hitha Prabhakar connects the dots and follows the money deep into the world’s fastestgrowing criminal industry. You’ll learn how the Internet, social media, and disposable cell phones have opened the floodgates for a new generation of criminals—and how their multimillion-dollar ripoffs are funding everyone from Al-Qaeda to Central America’s drug lords.
Black Market Billions draws on extensive first person interviews with law enforcement, industry personnel, and the criminals themselves. Prabhakar goes “inside” to reveal why the piracy economy has exploded...why preventative measures have failed...and what to expect next, as organized retail crime reaches a terrifying critical mass.
• Inside the massive, worldwide “piracy economy”
How organized retail crime went global—and what it means to you
• The money trail: from boosters and fences to consumers and terrorists
Shell warehouses and cargo theft: stealingfrom anyone, anywhere, anytime
• “Money laundering 2.0”: how terrorists are funded now
From ancient hawalas to twenty-first century gift cards
• Why the bad guys are still getting away with it
How terrorist funding keeps slipping through the cracks of today’s tougher laws
Hitha Prabhakar is a New York-based reporter for Bloomberg Television, covering business news and financial markets with a particular focus on retail. Before joining Bloomberg Television in 2011, Prabhakar was founder and principal of The Stylefile Group, a retail consulting firm based in New York City, where she served as an advisor to hedge funds and other clients with long-term holdings in retail companies. Prior to that, Prabhakar served as a retail reporter for Forbes Media, covering the luxury industry as well as men’s fashion. She has written for Time, People, MSNBC.com, ELLE India, and Metro newspapers, among other publications. Prabhakar was formerly a contributor on CNBC and has had numerous television appearances as a retail analyst on networks including CBS, CNN, Fox News, Sky News, and Bravo. She holds degrees in philosophy and economics from Smith College and a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She also studied at the London School of Economics.