Fotheringay-Phipps, Notorious e-Mobster

So here’s the plan. I form two (or more) separate criminal gangs. I recruit these people over the internet. None of them ever meet me or know my real name. All contact is via email/internet (between them and me - they know the other fellow gangmembers). I only use computers at libraries and other public places.

There is no way that I can be ratted out to the authorities, because none of these guys know my identity. More than that, the authorities can’t even pick up my name from street gossip and then plant wiretaps. Also, I can’t get bumped off by upstart rivals or competing gangs, for the same reason.

OTOH, I need a way of enforcing discipline in my gangs. And here’s where the separate gangs come in.

No one in one gang knows who the members of the other gang are, or even of the existence of another gang. Any time I need to teach someone a lesson, I use members of another gang, who have no idea who it is that they’re being told to whack or why.

The only way I see this going wrong is that I need some way of getting the loot from my minions to me. I imagine it would be easy to set up some complicated banking scheme using phony IDs and shell companies or the like, such that it would be beyond the ability of the average gang member to figure out who they were dealing with. But it would likely not be beyond the ability of the authorities.

Needs a bit more work …

Ever heard the old saying “Three people can keep a secret, if two of them are dead”?

It’s true. No matter how secure you think a computer network may be, it really isn’t. You can be identified, period. Also, in this scenario, you are nothing but an internet personality to your gangs of presumptively hardened criminals. I see no reason they would not cheerfully tell you to fuck off before going on about their own criminal enterprises. If for some odd reason they did decide to obey the commands from some unseen internet “boss”, the first guy that gets caught will rat out every known detail of his means of contact with you. The cops/FBI will then either infiltrate the gangs or identify you by tracing your computer use to libraries and then figuring who used the computers at the right time. Prosecution, conviction, and non-consenual sodomy at Pound Me in the Ass State (or Federal) Pen will then ensue.

What computer network? I walk into the local library and create an email address, or possibly some website. There’s no computer network to break into.

Because the first guy who tries it gets warned and then bumped off by unknown thugs (i.e. members of my other gang). After that the others realize there’s a danger in crossing me, and one they don’t know how to avoid.

I forgot to add in the OP that one other huge advantage is that I can monitor the activities of my guys by showing up on the scene posing some bystander that they won’t recognize and likely won’t pay much attention to.

Missed this edit.

Libraries and such are pretty soft on ID. And my intention is to use multiple locations.

And when the cops/feds noitce the same “random bystander” at multiple crime scenes, they’ll dig deeper…and then provide you with the lovely steel bracelets, etc.

How do you recruit these gang members? There’s damn few people who are going to be willing to commit any crimes at the orders of a person they’ve never met.

Well obviously I wouldn’t prefer to do it too often or I’d be noticed by my gang members. But if I did need long term contact I might get a part time job in the main gang hangout, or something along these lines, being careful or course to avoid actual involvement with or discussion of gang activity.

Far as I can tell there are people all over the place who do this exact sort of thing. It’s not like I’m trying to convince honest people to turn to a life of crime. There are people who are predisposed, based on personality and life history, to be criminals, and these tend to take risks for money.

I imagine it would start off the way a conventional gang would. Identify a “business opportunity” and offer some career criminal or violent delinquent a minor role. Guy does a good job he gets a more significant role next time. And so on.

You’re sorely mistaken. The basis of all criminal activity is trust. You simply cannot do a job with people you have little confidence in. It doesn’t work that way.

But even assuming your fancy assumption to be true, there’s a word for people who are willing to obey the orders of an unseen Master of Puppets, take all the risks, and give him the loot, no questions asked.

The word is “absolute morons”.
But sure, reap the profits of your unfaillible band(s) of crackheads, homeless crazies and dropped babies. What happens in Real Life is that even if these guys are willing to take jobs from you, complete them without bungling the job even worse than Dubya, and somehow magically escape the cops, they’ll then go their merry way, or fence the goods at 1% of its value to score a fix or something like that.

I’m getting vibes that you’re not so eager to sign up as my first recruit.


How do you pay your gang members?

Also, what value do you bring to the gang? At some point, why do they need you, when they’re doing all the heavy lifting – stealing, selling drugs, whatever? Aren’t you just handling the HR function? Who’s providing operational guidance? Are you planning the jobs, and if so, how?

How do you know when they’ve crossed you? You tell them to knock over a bank. They do it. Now they have an undetermined amount of cash, and some anonymous guy who they never see expects them to hand it over. Why would they bother to report their take accurately?

One of the gang is sure to become an unofficial shift supervisor, and since he is there all the time and capable of providing discipline immediately, won’t he take over your gang?

You could ask these same questions of any senior mob leader. Most of these guys are far removed from any direct hand in illegal activity. They provide leadership in the form of plans, orders, decisions. And they get their information from reports of subordinates. The only thing different is that they do it in person or over the phone, versus on-line.

There are a lot of junior mobsters who decide after a while that they don’t need the senior guy, and would be better off without him. See Gotti, John et al. But if you strike at a king you must kill him - otherwise his goons get you. And it’s hard to kill him if you don’t know who he is.

Of course, but all of these crime bosses have done the legwork in their time. Capone didn’t start running a hire-a-goon business out of the blue : he *was *a goon. Or rather, started off as one. Then he took the job the goon above him, proved better than him at his job and so forth, building his reputation over time. What do you know of crime, extorsion, prostitution, dope dealing or whatever ? Why would your rent-a-mooks trust your guidance, Kayser Soze, especially if they have no idea who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done ?

And how do they know you’re not a cop ? :stuck_out_tongue:

You misunderstand criminal groups. They’re very much based on inter-personal relationships between the members. Because they are working outside of the laws of their larger society, they are actually more personally connected than non-criminal groups.

People like Vito Corleone and Tony Soprano might not being dealing with everyone in their organization but they do deal with people like Tessio and Clemenza or Silvio and Paulie Walnuts. And those people in turn work closely with their people and so on down the chain.

These coups happen when an underling thinks he can get enough support to make it work - if he thinks people are closer to him than they are to the boss. And in your plan, everyone would be closer to each other than they are to you.