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6 Legitimate Organizations That Secretly Act Like the Mafia

In every system at every level of society, you're bound to come across at least one group bent on exploiting you with puppy-punching ruthlessness. That's just business: Profit makes you shady. We're pretty sure that was the name of one of Eminem's albums, actually. On the other hand, we have very high expectations of hospitals and charities and the guys administering justice behind the bench. If we can't trust people like them not to use their position to exploit the rest of us, who can we trust?

Answer: No one, it turns out.

#6. Drug Rehab Clinics Invent Patients to Get Tax Dollars

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Contrary to the impression we get from celebrities, drug rehab is not a lavish resort for the rich and famous to take a little timeout from being pretty. For troubled souls that don't have millions of dollars to blow on blow, these centers offer a support system in the struggle to beat addiction. Unfortunately for both taxpayers and drug addicts in California, rehab facilities got hooked on dollar bills and want to score as many hits as possible.

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As addictive as heroin and phonics combined.

Like the rehab clinic that bussed in unsuspecting foster children for bogus counseling sessions as part of a financial arrangement with their foster homes. According to a former employee at So Cal Health Services, staff members were tasked with falsifying the addiction histories of the foster kids, who showed zero signs of drug use, sometimes relying on blatant racial stereotypes to make their claims plausible.

But that was only the tip of the iceberg. Because unsuspecting children weren't enough to turn a meaty buck, rehab operators also resorted to recruiting people off the streets with the lure of cigarettes and small cash payments. Sometimes they just invented fake patients or charged for those who discontinued drug counseling due to prison terms or death.

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Three different patients named "Mike Rotch" allegedly each needed a private room.

Government officials, despite being made repeatedly aware of this systematic hoodwinking, remained enamored with the system and pumped $94 million into 56 different facilities suspected of fraud, making a California regulator the most dangerous dope on the streets. A doctor who oversaw 19 clinics (and has since seen 16 of them shut down due to fraud) would approve treatments for patients he never saw, musing sentimentally that even "a brick can undergo counseling." Higher up the chain of command, a combination of disturbingly weak regulations and complicit regulators even permitted convicted fraudsters to run some of the facilities. One clinic asked employees to distribute gift-wrapped cognac to patients as an incentive to attend counseling. Because crack is really hard to wrap, we suppose.

#5. Ethiopian Adoption Agencies Traffic Stolen Kids to America

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For those unable or unwilling to endure the uterus-wrenching process of childbirth, adoption agencies provide a much needed vaginal retention service. Plus, like, unfortunate children probably get something out of it, too -- but mostly it's all about not driving a truck through the downstairs family room.

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If men could give birth, all babies would be test tube babies by now.

All in all, adoption is usually a great thing. But not always: The danger emerges when hucksters and charlatans in countries like Ethiopia, which accounts for about one-fifth of all foreign adoptions by U.S. residents, get involved. We're not just talking inflated fees, but wholesale child trafficking.

Organizations like Christian World Adoption and Better Futures Adoption Services would make false promises to Ethiopian parents. They'd offer to send their children to America for a good education and the guidance of a wholesome family for a temporary period, never portraying the adoption process as final. To dupe Western hopefuls into believing that they were rescuing orphans, agencies would depict them as sick and parentless children suffocating with disease and destitution, falsifying documents where necessary. Children sold for thousands of dollars, and the agencies raked in millions.

Better Future Adoption Services
"These children are destitute! Just twenty grand each!"

While groups like BFAS have been shut down and increased awareness of the problem has prompted the occasional revocation of a fraudulent adoption, the scale of the problem is staggering. Basically, as long as adopting African babies remains a fashionable form of self-interested humanitarianism, it's doubtful that an end will pop into sight any time soon. So if you're a hot young celebutante looking to front like you've got a soul, leave those "orphans" alone -- maybe just chuck some money at Habitat for Humanity once in a while to keep the devil at bay.

#4. Courthouse Turns Murder Trials into Dollars

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While judges preside over forced auctions, such as those involving real estate, it's a given that the two spheres should never overlap. However, some lawyers and judges object, cleverly reasoning, "BUT MONEY!" before they begin wildly discounting their ethics in preparation for a moral fire sale.

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The scales weigh justice and/or gold bullion.

Take, for example, Judge Thomas J. Maloney, who sold murder verdicts for fees between $10,000 and $100,000. As a lawyer, Maloney formed ties with organized crime and regularly paid off judges to secure lenient verdicts for a known hit man and other mafia clientele. Fast-forward through 13 years presiding over criminal cases, and you have Illinois' only known instance of a judge fixing murder trials.

To execute his legal chicanery, Maloney used his bailiff and a well acquainted lawyer to ferry messages and payments between the judge and crooked lawyers. In at least three separate murder cases and a fourth involving taxes, Maloney and company arranged bribes.

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Sometimes he'd take both sides' bribes, judge honestly, and then return the loser's cash.

However, when their activities fell under the microscope of a massive FBI investigation, the judge panicked and decided to cover his tracks the way any good villain would: by trying to silence the witnesses.

It took the murder trial of Nathson Fields and Earl Hawkins, two gangsters accused of killing rival gang members, to finally catch Maloney. The judge, fearing that he had been spotted accepting a $10,000 bribe for their acquittal, returned the sum to their lawyer mid trial (totally the least conspicuous time to do that, buddy!) and subsequently sentenced the defendants to death (because if something is worth doing, it's worth overdoing). Ultimately, though, the FBI didn't buy Maloney's overcompensating verdict and wound up busting his crooked ass, which was later tried and convicted for his crimes.

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