Business Risk

Risk assessments and threat intelligence on business risks that can impact corporations or businesses. Information about money laundering, corruption and other threats to business operations.

A reporter in Dubai investigating fake online degrees reported on a company that was offering MBA degrees for sale. According to the report, the online company was claiming to transfer work experience into college credit that would allow a student to easily obtain an MBA degree online.

The unaccredited university was offering MBA degrees online for $500. After contacting the “university”, academic counselors repeatedly contacted the reporter using high pressured sales tactics in order to get the reporter to buy a degree. In the span of two days after initial contact, one diploma mill contacted the reporter 27 times, while another online diploma mill contacted the reporter 24 times.

The price of a MBA degree for sale is in line with other reported prices of degrees. It was previous reported that the cost to buy a degree online was $495 for a Bachelors degree and $525 for a Masters Degree.

(See more prices of fake diplomas online.)

Source:  Mazhar Farooqui, “Online fake degrees: XPRESS investigation part 2,”, June 4, 2014.

A study by Oxford Economics and the International Tax and Investment Center found that the Philippines Government lost $357 Million (15.6 Billion Philippine Peso) in tax revenue due to the sale of illegal cigarettes.

17.1 Billion cigarettes that were sold on the black market were smoked in the Philippines in 2013, up from the 6.1 billion illegal cigarettes smoked in 2012. 1.8 billion counterfeit cigarettes were smoked in the Philippines in 2013 as well.

(All cigarette smuggling statistics.)

Source:  Jon Carlos Rodriquez, “Philippines lost nearly P16-B on illegal cigarette sales in 2013 – study,” ABS CBN News, June 5, 2014.

A reporter with the New York Daily News was bought a fake New York ID card in 90 minuets in Roosevelt Avenue in the NYC borough of Queens.

The reporter paid $10 for her picture to be taken, and the $150 to receive the fake id card.

(Prices of fake online degrees.)

Police and other security experts in the city  state that the area of Roosevelt Ave. in Queens is considered to be a hotspot for counterfeit ids, fake green cards and fake passports. According to data released by the Queens District Attorney’s office, there were 273 arrests for creating of possessing fake id documents such as green cards, Social Security cards and fake passports. In 2013, there were 250 arrests. In the first 5 months of 2014, police arrests 130 people for fake documents.

(See more prices of fake ids for sale.)

Source:  Corinne Lestch, “Daily News reporter easily snags fake ID in Queens hotspot for phony documents,” New York Daily News, May 31, 2014.

Security officials estimate that illegal online gambling syndicates earn up to $2.4 Billion (7.9 Billion Malaysian Ringgit) a year from illegal gambling activities in Malaysia.

Intelligence by enforcement agencies shows that online bookies are able to make a daily profit of $3,112 (10,000 Ringgit) from illegal gamblers in the Malaysia. A start-up gambling website with $15,500 (50,000 Ringgit) in capital is able to collected between $2,178 to $3,112 (7,000 to 10,000 Ringgit) per day with a few customers.

The online syndicates use covers such as cyber cafes and restaurants to hid their gambling activities and to wash their funds.

(Additional money laundering  cases.)

Source:  Rahimy Rahim and Allison Lai, “Gambling rings making almost RM8bil a year even with raids,” Asia One, May 26, 2014.

According to security officials with the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, around 500 people are arrested each year for attempting to cheat at casinos in the state of Nevada. Out of the total number of arrested, nearly a third of those arrests are casino employees.

Security experts stated that increased video technology and ultraviolet and infrared light are creating new opportunities for cheaters in the casinos. There have been cases where gamblers would wear infrared contact lenses in order for the wearer to see marked cards.

(More on illegal gambling and betting here.)

Source:  Bethany Barnes, “Casino gaming cheats are increasingly sophisticated, panelists say,” Las Vegas Sun, May 22, 2014.


Customs officials in Ireland broke up a counterfeit vodka operation that was managed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that is estimated to have been a multimillion euro moonshine operation.

In a raid by Custom agents, nearly 1110,000 bottles caps, 400,000 fake labels of popular vodka brands, 500 cardboard boxes and a bottling plant was seized in May 2014.

Intelligence officials state that the IRA is potentially bringing in fake alcohol from Eastern Europe, and is filling up empty bottles with counterfeit alcohol. IRA members collected empty spirit bottles from bars and pubs across Ireland and bring them back to the operations center. There, the bottles are washed and the new labels and bottle tops are attached. The new fake bottles of vodka are then sold to bar owners and vendors across Ireland and the United Kingdom. The moonshine bottles, known as Provo vodka, is readily available across Northern Ireland and is often sold at places where smuggled cigarettes are also available.

The vodka labels discovered by security officials included Smirnoff and Stolichnaya.

Source:  Jim Cusack, “IRA moonshine operation smashed by Customs officers,” Independent, May 25, 2014.

A 10 day crackdown against counterfeit drugs coordinated by Interpoal in May 11 to 21, 2014 lead to 8.4 million doses of fake drugs.

237 people were arrested worldwide and 10,603 websites that were selling counterfeit medicines were shut down.

Fake pills being sold to the public included diet pills ad controlled pharmacy pills such as diazepam, anabolic steroids and erectile dysfunction pills.

In the United Kingdom, security agents seized fake drugs worht $31.3 Million (£18.6 Million). 72 percent of the counterfeit drugs seized in Britain were made in India, followed by 11 percent from China.

(Additional counterfeit drugs statistics.)

Source:  Ben Hirschler, “Fake medicines worth 18.6 million pounds seized in global crackdown,” Reuters, May 22, 2014.

Fuel smugglers in Indonesia are using motorcycles to smuggled subsidized fuel into East Timor, which does not receive government subsidies for its gasoline purchases.

According to a report in the Jakarta Globe, smugglers quickly drive up to gas stations located in the Belu district of Timor. The smugglers cut in front of the line and fill up modified tanks on their bikes that are able to hold more fuel than regular motorcycle tanks. Once filled, they drive over the border into East Timor to sell the fuel on the black market. Once the fuel is off-loaded, the smugglers return to the gas station in Belu and repeat the process. Media reports state that each time the smuggler cuts in line and fills up the bike tank, the smugglers passes along a small payment to the gas attendants.

A barrel of fuel costs around $78 (900,000 Indonesian Rupiah) in Indonesia with the fuel subsidy. In East Timor, the same barrel of fuel costs about $156 (1.8 Million Rupiah).

The smuggling of fuel has impacted Indonesia’s budget. The original budget estimate for the fuel subsidy program was set at 210 Trillion Rupiah. Due to the purchases of smugglers, the fuel subsidy program cost 285 Trillion Rupiah, or $25 Billion.

In addition to the fuel smuggling, a black market in stolen cars is also active on the border with East Timor. A person with experience in the trade told the Jakarta Globe that a stolen 2013 Toyota Avanza Veloz can be sold for $6,525 (75 Million Rupiah) on the border.

(See more black market prices here.)

Source:  Josua Grantan, “Timor Fuel Smugglers Deal in Liquid Money,” Jakarat Globe, May 21, 2014.

Between 1992 and 2014, police and brand enforcement officials with the National Hockey League (NHL) seized over 10.6 million counterfeit goods items of its hockey teams. These types of fakes consists of counterfeit or replica jerseys, t-shirts and hats of NHL hockey teams that are unauthorized. According to the NHL, the retail value of the counterfeits seized over the 12 year period was worth over $405 Million.

During the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, security agents seized over 11,000 counterfeit NHL items that were valued at over $2.5 Million.

Source:  Lisa Balde, “NHL Warns Blackhawks Fans of Counterfeit Merchandise,” NBC Chicago, May 19, 2014.

A study conducted by the International Centre for Sport Security and the Sorbonne in Paris stated that up to $140 Billion is bet on sporting events by people looking to launder money.

Up to 80 percent of global sports betting takes place on illegal gambling markets, such as offshore books and unlicensed online casinos.

The report stated that a lack of regulation in sports and gambling allows the possibility of match-fixing to take place. According to the researchers, football (American soccer) and cricket were the sporting events most likely to be fixed by gamblers. Tennis matches, basketball, motor racing and badminton were also affected by match fixing.

(Additional illegal gambling statistics and information.)

Source:  “Crime gangs launder $140 billion through sports betting – report,” Reuters, May 15, 2014.