Hierarchies of Organized Crime

The most difficult task for law enforcement agencies in countering the effects of transnational organized crime is that the nature of it transcends borders and is highly structured. Seimon Mogilevich of the Russian Mafia is still wanted by the F.B.I. in connection with a scheme that successfully laundered as much as $7 billion dollars. He was able to defraud the Securities and Exchange Commission and from 1993 to 1998 set up a complex network of companies in twenty countries to defraud investors in his Canadian corporation, YMB Magnex International Inc1. This was possible due to the sophistication, structure, and intelligence of his group. Each organization has a unique structure but in the case of the Russian Mafia there is a simple structure that ensures loyalty and protects the upper echelons of management. The most commonly known is the old style of Soviet criminal enterprises. Four criminal cells are controlled by a boss known as the Pakhan and the Pakhan directs operations through the use of a Brigadier ensuring loyalty by having two spies log the actions of the Brigadier. The criminal cells have different specializations ranging from drugs, prostitution, and modern-day cybercrime.

A consistent and reoccurring theme in the structure of major criminal networks is a hierarchy enforced by strict discipline, restricted membership, tight secrecy, compartmentalization, and the prominent use of intimidation and violence. Leaders usually have extensive political and economic contacts. There are deputies for economic issues, banking, security, and counter-intelligence. Team leaders are bankers, accountants, and professional extortionists.
1

F.B.I. Crime Alert - Seimon Mogilevich. Retrieved June 30, 2008, from http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/alert/mogilevich_s.htm

Organizational structure is different from one crime syndicate to the next but there is a basic outline of similarities between each of these. The most common form is led by a single leader and has a clearly defined hierarchy. (Example A)
Example A:

A regional hierarchy, as seen in example B, is strictly commanded from the center with divisions carrying out tasks and reporting back through a similar chain of command as seen in example A.
Example B:

A clustered hierarchy is the most commonly seen form in transnational criminal networks. The structure must consist of an oversight or governing body to control the structural integrity of the whole. Clustered hierarchies are an association of organized crime groups that have learned to cooperate with one another in order to accomplish complex and sophisticated missions. In example C, it is governed from the center and connects with regional and standard hierarchies.
Example C:

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