Things Just Ain't The Same For Gangsters...

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Having confessed my Mob Wives obsession, I see no problem with admitting that I really enjoyed this take on Mafia shows from the perspective of an FBI agent:


On The Sopranos, and the shifting nature of the Mob:

Let's talk about The Sopranos for a minute. The Sopranos sort of portrayed the mob as a dying organization, not like it was in the old days. How accurate was that portrayal of the New Jersey-New York mafia? 

 When people say "the mob is dead," I think that's an inaccurate statement. It's certainly less than what you experienced in the sixties and seventies. The way of doing business from the mob's perspective has changed dramatically, and I think some people confuse that with the idea that the mob is dying. It's still rabid, strong, and alive; I just think the days of easily charging the mob -- those days are over, because people are engaged in more sophisticated crimes. Their level of concealment as it relates to financial-type fraud and health-care fraud and all the other, the different complex crimes that they're involved in, it's just made it harder for us to track them. So it appears as if it's not as big of a problem, but certainly the mob is still there, and they're still very strong. Their hierarchy is well-established, and it's been established for decades, so it's very easy to replace somebody. When we arrest a high-ranking captain, the next day somebody's there to fill that person's shoes. 

So what crimes are the mob likely to be involved in now that they wouldn't have been involved in twenty years ago? 

We've had numerous cases that illustrate their involvement in the stock market. They're infiltrating the financial sector a lot more than they did twenty or thirty years ago. The days of "give me a thousand dollars or I'm gonna break your legs" explicitly stated to someone and captured on tape, I think, are over. The forms of extorting individuals are now concealed in inflated invoices, they're concealed in control of high-level executives at companies.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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