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Old 05-31-2018, 03:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default Friends in low places


So I've got an organization which has as a mission statement to "dismantle dictatorships and violent crime syndicates, mundane or magical in nature" hiding behind a megacorps. They are willing to work with non-violent criminals like luxury car thieves and fences to build contacts in the underworld.

What kind of benefits would they get from having business relations with a high end automotive car theft ring?

With jewelry/electronics/luxury items fences?

I'm not talking about cash flow, but knowing there is an organization hiding behind a megacorps with the mission statement of "conquer the world" and a crime syndicate with the mission statement of "using the paranormal to make money, no matter who gets hurt in the process", what benefits would it have to have nonviolent friends in low places, supplying some help/product in exchange for down payments and favors (is useful intel a reasonable favor in that case?).

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Old 05-31-2018, 07:02 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Friends in low places

Not much of one if they already have the resources of a megacorp because they are the wrong sort of criminals to provide information and services for a megacorp. The only difference between a megacorp and a syndicate is legitimacy, the megacorp possesses the legal authority to use lethal force to defend its stream of income while a syndicate does not. Conmen and forgers are the useful nonviolent criminals to megacorps, not car theives and jewelry thieves. Of course, they could be babysitters for corp brats, just providing enough of a thrill to keep the young ones from seeking real danger.
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:59 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Friends in low places

Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
What kind of benefits would they get from having business relations with a high end automotive car theft ring?

With jewelry/electronics/luxury items fences?
The fences are fairly simple to use. The megacorp becomes a buyer for goods stolen by the syndicate (and maybe a few others). This serves a couple of purposes:

The first is analysis: learning more about what the syndicate does, what it's interested in, and so on.

The second is forensics: getting trace evidence from the stolen items to help identify the thieves. If the megacorp has someone (maybe a PC) with the Psychometry advantage or the History family of spells, this becomes easy and very effective.

An important point is that the fences must not know that they're selling to the megacorp. When it starts acting against the thieves, the syndicate will connect the actions to the stolen goods, and start asking the fences hard questions. A fence who doesn't protect criminals' identities is likely to get killed by the criminals.

The car theft ring is less useful. It means the megacorp can acquire vehicles through them, but doing that legitimately is easier and safer. Having the car thieves steal the syndicates' vehicles will just get them in difficulties with the syndicate. Changing them to being a car fencing ring might work better.
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Old 06-01-2018, 05:23 AM   #4
The Colonel
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: Friends in low places

Access to the black and grey markets is likely to be a major benefit - the ability to buy and sell things that cannot be obtained through commercial procurement services and the ability to do so without scrutiny from the accounts department (or at least from the public auditors).
Obtaining street level currency - cash, drugs etc. may also be a benefit.
And intelligence assets - contacts and the like in the criminal underworld.

Pawnbrokers could have access to underground dealing networks where the syndicate buys occult artifacts or sells ... whatever they have that makes money for them.
Car ringers could be useful in creating ghost vehicles, modifying legitimate ones (say covert armour or nitro injectors) or cloning work (for example to false flag the syndicate), or to make "hot" cars vanish. Equally, infiltrating the syndicate's own garages could allow you to slurp data from navigation systems, plant bugs or even bypass security to hack their control systems (very useful for a hard-to-trace kill).
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Old 06-01-2018, 08:38 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Friends in low places

I honestly think that those are negligible benefits. If we are talking about a megacorps, we are talking about a company with minimum earnings of 1% global GDP, a minimum of $800 billion per year (making it wealthier than Saudi Arabia). I doubt that its advisory, executive, or governing boards (depending on its structure) will pay attention to individual items that cost/earn less than 0.1% of its annual revenues, a minimum of $800 million per year. At that level, it is interacting with syndicates, not gangs, if it wants to deal with shady business.

It is honestly more efficient for company that size to have its own syndicate to use for its own shady business. Drugs, prostitution, smuggling, etc are much easier when you have a megacorp behind you. It would use its syndicate to discredit politicians hostile to its goals and to supply arms and training to rebels of governments it opposes. In effect, the syndicate becomes a deniable black ops unit of the megacorp and, since it would have some independence to maintain deniability, it would hire nonviolent criminals and take a percentage.
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Old 06-01-2018, 06:01 PM   #6
jason taylor
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Friends in low places

Having connections with LOTS of car theft rings as a function of being a criminal imperialist may be of benefit. They have someone to do the dirty work, and if the hire is done through buffers they don't know who they are doing it for. And on normal occasions they can just lean on them for tribute.

If someone is needing to go on the lam, having a connection to take shelter with is of course of use.
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
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