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    102: Money Maker

    Attention to detail, careful planning, and taking precautions can help one execute a complex task successfully.

    en-usOctober 12, 2021

    About this Episode

    Frank Bourassa had an idea. He was going to make money. Literally. Listen to the story of a master counterfeiter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Our tendency to be wired in a certain way might influence our personality and choices in life, whether legal or illegal. It is crucial to recognize our limitations and to avoid overcommitting ourselves to avoid burnout.
    • Persistent effort in seeking help, accepting the problem, and educating oneself can bring relief and a positive change in life. Take things easy and prioritize self-care.
    • Desperation can lead to risky decisions and illegal activities. Quick fixes may seem tempting but always come with hefty consequences. Risking everything for a shortcut is never worth the price.
    • Counterfeiting requires thorough research and knowledge of security features. To avoid suspicion, choose a common currency and maintain secrecy. However, counterfeiting is illegal and can result in severe consequences.
    • Knowing the unique features of real money, including the type of paper, ink, and security fibers, can help individuals identify counterfeit bills. Research and attention to detail are key in preventing successful counterfeiting.
    • Attention to detail and determination to replicate a process alone doesn't guarantee success. Having the right intentions is crucial.
    • To succeed in a new venture, seek out an expert and practice diligently. Putting in the effort to become skilled can lead to success, as seen in Frank's pursuit of becoming an expert printer for his counterfeit money-making scheme.
    • Counterfeit money requires specific paper, making paper procurement the riskiest step. Even vague inquiries can raise suspicion, making one mistake in the process lead to disastrous consequences.
    • Crafting a bond certificate involves finding specific materials, from paper blends and security fibers to watermarks. It requires resourcefulness and ingenuity to get everything just right.
    • Success in executing complex plans requires careful consideration of potential risks and proactive measures to prevent them, as well as strategic planning and attention to detail in every step of the process.
    • Attention to detail, careful planning, and taking precautions can help one execute a complex task successfully.
    • Counterfeiting money may seem like a quick way to make money, but it comes with significant risks. Careful planning and execution are required, but ultimately, illegal activities can ruin a person's life.
    • Building trust is essential in illegal operations, but expanding networks can lead to increased risks and challenges. It's crucial to weigh the potential consequences before making any big steps.
    • Getting involved in illegal activities such as counterfeiting can have severe consequences, including legal prosecution and risking loved ones' safety. It is crucial to stay cautious and avoid such activities to prevent harm to oneself and others.
    • Engaging in criminal activity has serious consequences, and it's essential to plan for the possibility of getting caught. Taking responsibility for one's actions can protect loved ones, and a skilled lawyer can make a difference. It's important to recognize when it's time to stop and face the consequences.
    • A single move can turn the tables around in your favor, even in the most difficult situations.
    • Frank's quick thinking and calmness in crisis can help overcome even the toughest challenges.
    • Frank Bourassa turned his illicit skill set into a legitimate business by offering counterfeit protection services through his MASTERY AEGIS program. Despite a controversial past, he now helps prevent fraud and counterfeiting.

    đź“ť Podcast Summary

    The Influence of Wiring on Personality and Activities

    Frank Bourassa is wired to thrive in complex situations that require tough problem-solving. He likes taking high-stakes challenges in his personal and professional life. Frank began committing crimes as a teen by reselling clothes stolen from stores. Over time, he got into more complex crimes, running his auto part factory while selling marijuana. However, his tendency to overcommit himself often led to burnout. It shows that his behavior was consistent across his life's pursuits, whether legal or illegal. Frank's story suggests that one's tendency to be wired in a certain way might influence their personality and their choice of activities.

    Overcoming Illness: A Journey of Persistence and Self-Care.

    The fear of not knowing what was happening to him consumed Frank's life, and he suffered from panic attacks. However, once he received a proper diagnosis, he found relief and the means to fight his illness. This recovery process was not quick, but after taking a break and visiting places he loves, Frank returned to work. Despite feeling better, he knew he couldn't handle a demanding job and had to take things easy. Frank's journey to overcome his illness teaches us to be persistent and actively seek help. It is imperative to target the problem, put a name to it, and educate ourselves on ways to help.

    From Drug Dealing to Counterfeiting: The Risky Shortcut to Millionaire Status.

    Facing trouble in his business, Frank started selling weed. He made connections with big-time dealers and earned huge profits, but he got caught and was arrested on drug charges. He couldn't think of any new illegal activity that would be less risky and highly profitable. One evening, everything changed for him, and he got an idea of making counterfeit money. Although it was complex, with a lot of research and problem-solving, he could earn millions. But he was aware of the risks involved in it, and hence he was hesitant till he received feedback from drug exporters. For them too, counterfeiting was extremely edgy and risky. Eventually, Frank realized it was a shortcut to make direct money and earn immense wealth.

    Counterfeiting a Twenty-Dollar Bill: The Challenges and Precautions

    Frank decided to counterfeit the US twenty-dollar bill as it was common enough to avoid raising eyebrows and worth enough to be profitable. He faced the challenge of learning how to copy and print a twenty-dollar bill. He had to research about the security features of the US currency, but his paranoia kicked in when he started his online search. He went to the Secret Service website and learned about the security features of the US twenty-dollar bill, such as the color-shifting ink and the embedded security thread. Frank realized that he needed to be invisible and not bring attention to himself to avoid being caught, and a twenty-dollar bill was the perfect choice for a counterfeit currency.

    Preventing Counterfeiting through Understanding the Printing Process

    Knowing the intricate details of how money is printed can help prevent counterfeiting. The US Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing website provides information on the entire printing process, including the type of paper and ink used, security fibers, and printing plates. Counterfeiters like Frank Bourassa study these details to replicate real money as closely as possible. However, the feel of real money is difficult to replicate due to the unique paper blend, raised ink texture, and added security features. Anyone familiar with handling real money can easily identify a counterfeit, so even the smallest mistake on a bill can result in getting caught. Research and attention to detail are essential to successful counterfeiting, but can also prevent it.

    Frank's Plan to Print Counterfeit Money

    Frank's determination and attention to detail while replicating the US Treasury's process for printing money was critical to his plan to print fake money and launder it with criminals. He invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in expensive equipment, including an offset printing press, to get as close to perfect as possible on his first print. His goal was to print twelve million twenty-dollar bills, worth $250 million, and sell them to criminals for $6 each, resulting in making $75 million from this. Buying an offset printing press is legal and fairly common, but Frank's intentions behind purchasing it were illegal, landing him in jail for fifty years.

    Finding an Expert and Practicing Diligently for Success

    In order to succeed in a new venture, it's important to find an expert and to practice diligently. Frank needed help buying a printing press, so he found a specialist who helped him purchase a huge Heidelberg four-color offset printing press. He then rented a discreet warehouse, setting up a hideout where he could practice and perfect his counterfeit money-making scheme. With this printer, he could print posters, magazines, and millions of fake twenty-dollar bills. Frank put in a lot of effort into becoming an expert at the printing process. He even spent a long time zooming into photos of bills to analyze every pixel. His success was due in part to finding an expert and practicing diligently.

    The Risks and Challenges of Counterfeiting Money

    Counterfeiting money requires a specific blend of cotton-linen paper with watermark and security strip, which is hard to find. Counterfeiters need to be mindful of the paper procurement step as it is the riskiest part of the entire scheme. Buying such a paper directly from the US Treasury or Crane Paper is impossible without raising suspicion. Thus, counterfeiters try to find a paper company in a distant land and come up with a fake story to convince them. Custom-made paper is the only option, and even vague queries can raise suspicion. Law-abiding citizens, who see something illegal, call the cops immediately. One mistake in any single point can lead to disastrous consequences.

    The Art of Crafting a Bond Certificate: A Resourceful Endeavor

    Frank had to find a small paper company in Switzerland to create a custom blend with a specific ratio for the bond certificate. He also had to find special security fibers and chemicals to prevent counterfeiting. Moreover, he needed a drum for the watermark and got it made by someone who wouldn't know who Andrew Jackson was to keep the process confidential. Once he had everything, he sent it to the paper company to create the bond certificate. In short, creating a bond certificate requires a lot of specific materials, and Frank needed to be resourceful to get everything he required.

    The Importance of Strategic Planning and Meticulous Attention to Detail

    Frank's attention to detail and strategic planning helped him successfully add all the necessary features to the counterfeit paper without arousing suspicion. He was careful in his interactions with the paper company and waited until the last minute to request the security strip with USA Twenty on it. He also took precautions to ensure his identity was not connected to the paper when he picked it up from the port, as he knew authorities might be watching. Frank's success in his plan was due to his meticulous planning and ability to think of different scenarios that could go wrong and prepare for them.

    How Frank Transported Counterfeit Money Without Getting Caught

    Frank's elaborate plan and attention to detail helped him successfully transport the paper for counterfeit money without getting caught. He hired a driver to bring the shipment from the port, followed by another driver to block the road when the truck crossed a narrow bridge. He also ensured the paper was free of any electronic tracking device and switched it to another truck before taking it to his print shop. Frank invested a significant amount of money and effort into the plan, and it paid off. Despite this being only the beginning of the process, Frank was excited and confident about the success of his venture.

    The Risks and Rewards of Counterfeiting Money

    Counterfeiting money is a risky business that requires careful planning and execution. Frank's success was partly due to his attention to detail, from using the right paper and ink to lining up clients beforehand and offering free samples. However, despite his precautions, the danger of being caught remained high. In the end, Frank's goal was not just to make money, but to avoid getting caught by hiding all evidence that this ever happened. The key takeaway is that shortcuts and illegal activities may seem like a quick way to make a profit, but they come with significant risks that can ultimately ruin a person's life.

    Building Trust and Expanding Illicit Operations

    Frank successfully created a scheme to sell fake money, and with the help of free samples and building trust with buyers, he was able to make a profit. He set up a network of runners to distance himself from the operation and limit exposure, but he faced a bottleneck in sales. To expand the network, he added a fifth buyer with the help of a trusted middleman. This highlights the importance of building trust in business transactions and the potential risks and challenges of illegal schemes.

    Risks and Consequences of Illegal Operations

    The story highlights the consequences of getting involved in illegal operations such as counterfeiting and emphasizes the importance of being careful while involving any other person in such activities. Frank's secretive attitude towards his girlfriend to avoid her being implicated shows how risky such illegal businesses can be. The sophisticated nature of the operation and the difficulty in detecting counterfeit bills and its consequences make it evident that it is essential to stay away from such illegal activities. The police's use of Frank's girlfriend to extract information on his business operations shows how far they can go to prosecute offenders, making it necessary to avoid illegal activities.

    The Consequences of Criminal Activity and the Importance of Preparation and Responsibility

    Engaging in criminal activity has serious consequences and can lead to losing everything, including freedom. It's important to prepare for the possibility of getting caught and plan an exit strategy. Frank's case shows that even when caught, having a skilled lawyer can make a difference in the outcome. The decision to come clean and take responsibility for one's actions may not be easy, but it can also help protect loved ones who may be innocent. Despite Frank's preparation, not everything can be controlled, and luck can also play a role. Continuing to engage in criminal activity can lead to more severe consequences, and it's crucial to recognize when it's time to stop and face the consequences.

    Using a Bargaining Chip to Reduce Sentence.

    Frank's lawyer was able to reduce his sentence to a handful of years from decades. Even though he got a plea bargain, Frank didn't take it. Later, he told his lawyer about $200 million in counterfeit twenties and used it as a bargaining chip to reduce his sentence. He was successful as the Crown dropped the counterfeiting charges, but with a catch. The Crown set up an exchange for a month out to catch him doing something wrong. Frank had already stashed the money and didn't care about the catch. The key takeaway from the story is that sometimes a single move can turn the tables around in your favor, even in the most difficult situations.

    Frank's Cunning Escape from the Law

    Frank outsmarted the cops by hiding the key ring to the truck which contained millions of fake twenty-dollar bills on the drop date. He handed over the key ring to his lawyer on the court premises. Despite being surrounded by a convoy of black SUV police cars, K-9 unit, bomb squad, and people in hazmat suits and bomb suits, Frank managed to transport the truck back to RCMP headquarters. The police were worried about a possible explosive set to a timer or any other trap. The same action could carry a different weight depending on circumstances. Frank's intelligence, wit, and presence of mind in the face of danger proved instrumental in succeeding in his plan and outsmarting the law.

    From Counterfeiter to Counterfeit Protection Consultant

    Frank Bourassa engaged in counterfeiting but turned his skills into a legitimate business. He now consults for counterfeiting protection using his trademarked MASTERY AEGIS program. He offered to help the US redo their currency, but they turned him down. Although charged with counterfeiting, Frank only served six weeks in jail and was fined for a drug-related charge. He turned his life around and has a positive impact on organizations by preventing fraud and counterfeiting. However, there is something amiss - Frank printed $250 million but only surrendered $200 million to the authorities. The missing $50 million remains a mystery.

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    135: The D.R. Incident

    135: The D.R. Incident
    Omar Avilez worked in the CSIRT of the Dominican Republic when a major cyber security incident erupted. Omar walks us through what happened and the incident response procedures that he went through. Breakmaster Cylinder’s new album: https://breakmastercylinder.bandcamp.com/album/the-moon-all-that. Sponsors Support for this show comes from Varonis. Do you wonder what your company’s ransomware blast radius is? Varonis does a free cyber resilience assessment that tells you how many important files a compromised user could steal, whether anything would beep if they did, and a whole lot more. They actually do all the work – show you where your data is too open, if anyone is using it, and what you can lock down before attackers get inside. They also can detect behavior that looks like ransomware and stop it automatically. To learn more visit www.varonis.com/darknet. Support for this show comes from Axonius. The Axonius solution correlates asset data from your existing IT and security solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory of all devices, users, cloud instances, and SaaS apps, so you can easily identify coverage gaps and automate response actions. Axonius gives IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity by mitigating threats, navigating risk, decreasing incidents, and informing business-level strategy — all while eliminating manual, repetitive tasks. Visit axonius.com/darknet to learn more and try it free. Support for this show comes from Flare. Flare automates monitoring across the dark & clear web to detect high-risk exposure, before threat actors have a chance to leverage it. Their unified solution makes it easy to rapidly identify risks across thousands of sources, including developers leaking secrets on public GitHub Repositories, threat actors selling infected devices on dark web markets, and targeted attacks being planned on illicit Telegram Channels. Visit https://flare.io to learn more. Sources https://www.wired.com/story/costa-rica-ransomware-conti/ https://malpedia.caad.fkie.fraunhofer.de/details/win.bandook https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHYH0U66K5Q https://www.youtube.com/live/prCr7Z94078 https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2023/02/uncle-sow-dark-caracal-latin-america https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/quantum-ransomware-attack-disrupts-govt-agency-in-dominican-republic/ https://www.welivesecurity.com/2021/07/07/bandidos-at-large-spying-campaign-latin-america/ Attribution Darknet Diaries is created by Jack Rhysider. Assembled by Tristan Ledger. Episode artwork by odibagas. Mixing by Proximity Sound. Theme music created by Breakmaster Cylinder. Theme song available for listen and download at bandcamp. Or listen to it on Spotify. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices