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.
Drug Rehab Clinics Invent Patients to Get Tax Dollars
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.
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.
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.
Ethiopian Adoption Agencies Traffic Stolen Kids to America
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.
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.
"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.
Courthouse Turns Murder Trials into Dollars
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.
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.
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.
Police and Firefighters Become Drug Peddlers and Extortionists
Police officers of New York City's 30th Precinct spent a good portion of the 1980s and early '90s amassing a list of transgressions that would have impressed the Goodfellas -- or at least elicited an approving nod. The long, track-marked arm of the law became synonymous with reselling dope that was confiscated in drug raids and made a habit of dismantling cars in search of hidden drug stashes to steal. In at least one case, drug pushers were forced to acquire their dope from the police via auction. In another, a corrupt cop straight-up shot an unsuspecting dealer for his drug stash. And now, if only for a brief and ill-advised moment, you've felt bad for a drug dealer.
He was just trying to get by. Unlike Roy, who's still a greedy dick.
Of the 191 cops employed at the 30th Precinct, an estimated 25 percent were involved in illicit activities, and approximately 1 in 6 was eventually arrested. The courts were forced to overturn 125 separate drug convictions against 98 different criminals, of whom 70 percent actually admitted to committing a crime. The fallout ended up being among the costliest in New York's history, flushing $10 million down the toilet like a panicked Lorraine Bracco.
But the cops aren't the only heroes ever to become robbers. A more recent example comes from the Miami Beach Fire Department, which in 2012 became notorious for demanding cash to overlook fire code violations at a local nightclub. Among the key players in the department's racket were four fire code compliance officers, including one who ran drugs with a corrupt cop on the side. Months of FBI surveillance uncovered a pattern of payoffs rendered by Club Dolce in order to avoid incurring fines of $40,000 and $50,000. To cover up the crimes, the senior fire inspector masked the ransom as charitable donations.
That year's calendar made $75,000. And that was before the money laundering.
Over the course of this extortion, millions of dollars in fines went up in smoke (sorry) as compliance officers became adept at the fine arts of assault, fraud, and abuse of power. That kind of morality can't be taught.
No seriously, don't teach that to anyone. The world's bad enough.
Funeral Homes Sell Diseased Organs to Transplant Hopefuls
When you think "stable, trustworthy individual," you think funeral home director.
Wait, get that out of your head. We're not talking about that today.
Well, presumably you at least hope for "not a perverse grave robber." Sadly, that might be hoping for too much: Funeral directors and crematorium workers make a killing (so sorry) by robbing dead bodies of their bones, teeth, and skin for sale to medical schools and hospitals, which in turn unknowingly transplant them into living bodies.
In the U.S. it's a multimillion-dollar enterprise, with an estimated 16,800 families of victims filing suits. That's right: Your new scrotum graft could very well have come from corpse robbery. That's a surefire recipe for a sack-haunting, if you ask us.
"Baby, it's not you. It's the scrote ghost, the boner donor moaner."
One of the more high-profile cases in recent history revolved around Michael Mastromarino. Under the guise of a "biotech" company, he and a crew of not-so-figurative hatchet men enlisted 10 funeral directors across New York and Pennsylvania to steal parts from over a thousand different bodies, including that of the late great host of Masterpiece Theater, Alistair Cooke. There is no joke here because, with shaky hands, we have deleted several macabre puns in a row. You can thank us later.
The undertaking was as unsanitary as it was morbid. Corpses, some of which belonged to people with AIDS, hepatitis, and cancer, were left exposed in alleyways for days before being brought to the cutting table, where bones were replaced with PVC pipes to disguise the theft. In addition to mortifying families throughout two states, the crooks may have even infected one transplant recipient with hepatitis C.
We're not sure how you go about comforting a lady who got a serious disease from aggravated Frankensteining. "Well, it's not like you got it from anything you did -- it's just part of the rotting corpse they stole and stitched into you!"
"I'm sorry ma'am, but your herpes is haunted."
A Ring of Doctors Harvests Organs from the Needy
Given the life-changing ramifications of organ transplants, we assume that only the most expert hands and Hippocratic of oath-takers screen potential donors and find the appropriate recipients. Anyone deviating from that system would have to be some back-alley quack with a medical degree from B.S.U. So when a team of prominent surgeons was revealed at the center of a kidney theft ring, it's understandable if you feel like the world's moral compass is spinning like a drunk at the North Pole.
North Pole drunks: unstable, but a good kidney source.
During the 2000s, Dr. Lutfi Dervishi was the acting director of a small clinic in Kosovo that he ran with his son Arban. With the blessing of several government officials, the pair worked alongside at least five other doctors to pilfer the kidneys of the poor.
Desperately poor donors were paid as little as $10,000 for their anatomical goodies, although in at least some cases they were left with only empty promises as compensation. The harvested organs, in turn, were sold to wealthy buyers located in Israel, Germany, and Canada for up to $130,000 apiece.
Suck it, "universal" health care!
The team's primary organ thief, Dr. Ysusuf Somnez, even bragged to the press about the fineness of his illegal kidney craftsmanship while on trial, remarking: "I am the best in the world as long as my fingers aren't broken."
Hey, somebody's got a good idea!
Related Reading: For a lighter mood, look at these legitimate organizations that let idiots run their social media. Movies have made insane asylums look pretty horrific, but that isn't really the case. By the same token some good orgsnizations, like Mensa, began for truly messed up reasons.