Headline May 08, 2016/ ''' CYBER IN CRIME : *THE RISING TIDE* '''



JUST LAST WEDNESDAY - in a move aimed at hampering cash transactions by terrorists, drug dealers and money launderers-

The European Central Bank announced an end to the  *500 euro-bank-note* worth roughly $575.

*A suitcase worth full of cash may soon be worth a lot less*.

When it comes to moving nefariously, the Euro 500  note has been specially handy.

It is a large denomination in a widely circulated and easily convertible currency. In the United States, the largest denomination is $100, after the Federal reserve discontinued the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills in 1969.

Switzerland has a  1,000-franc note, worth about $1,050, but its supply is limited............... 

Cyber crime is the order of the day.

A man in Bermuda shorts, canvas shoes, and a white T-shirt introduces himself as Chita's brother, Marian.

He licks his lips nervously and fidgets with an iPhone. ''Chita's coming,'' he says, ''but he's a little drunk.'' While we wait in a downtown cafe, I look out the window at Marian's new Jaguar and asks him how he was able to afford it.

He laughs. ''You know how much a Jaguar costs in Romania? Only 2,000 euros for someone with connections. You give me the money, I give it to you right now.''

A few minutes later, Chita walks around the corner and ambles into the cafe. Boyishly handsome, dressed in shorts, a light blue polo shirt, and flip-flops, he looks more like a college student than a criminal mastermind.

At his side is a muscular young man in dark glasses, with a large tattoo on his arm. he slams a drink bottle down on the table and flexes his hand, as if he's getting ready for a boxing match.

Chita shakes my hand dourly and sits down next to me, looking away. Two other men join our group. A young couple from a corner table come over to greet Chita with fawning smiles and handshakes. 

The cafe owner walks by and looks at me gravely. ''good luck,'' he says.

The tattooed man looks into me ominously. ''Were you sent by Barrack Obama?'' he asks.

I say that I wasn't, and everyone but me lights a cigarettes. Chita asks the couple to join Marian as translators, and they agree to stay. The young man tells me to stand, and the bodyguard puts me down, asking if I'm wearing a wire.''

''What do you say to the charges against you?'' I ask.

''They are fake,'' Chita says in English.

Chita continues with his defense, and the couple translate enthusiastically. ''He doesn't even know how to speak English, so it's impossible for him to post ads or exchange  e-mail with buyers,'' the young woman says.

She continues. ''he doesn't even have an e-mail address. How can he do fraud on the Internet?''

This is hardly a serious defense, but the anonymity afforded by the Web gives it a semblance of credence. And that's exactly what has made it so challenging for law enforcement to track down crooks and prosecuting them.   

I press Chita about the wiretapped conversations but the bodyguard interrupts us. Then Chita takes a final drag from his cigarette and rises from his chair:

''This interview is over,'' Marian says.

I am left with the young couple. The young man, Alex Negru, says he has heard about Chita from his friends, has seen his name in the papers. He tells that he's just received a diploma in engineering from an institution in Bucharest. He's been looking for a job here in  Ramnicu Valcea, his hometown.

''I haven't found anything yet,'' he says. if this goes on, it seems certain that Chita's network will start to look like a pretty good option.

The cops are trying  -there were 188 arrests in Romania in 2010 -but it's an endless task.

I am reminded of something that Frunza told me at the Italian restaurant, about how hopeless it seems to try to clean up Ramnicu Valcea for good.

''You arrest two of them, and 20 new ones take their place,'' he said. ''We are two police officers, and they are 2,000.''

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.

''' Eco Defense '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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