Monday, June 22, 2009

Cutting Lex Luthor a Check

So TV Tropes tells me that all financial crimes have legitimate and high paying counterparts. I've thought about this since before I knew about TV Tropes, and the more I think about it, the more I believe it's true. Take a Mafia-style protection racket vs. insurance. In the protection racket, you ask business owners to pay you money, lest "bad things happen." Bad things that you cause personally. In insurance, you ask the business owner to give you money, and promise that if he does, he'll get a lot of money if bad things happen. (Bad things that you won't cause because holy crap would it cost you.)
So, here's a list of crimes and legitimate careers that they could be spun into. Arrested people, take notice.
* Drug dealing
Replace the product with something legal, rent a store, replace the habit of shooting people who threaten you or act up with calling the police on them, and you're now a legitimate business owner. Collected statistics show that street dealers mark up 2:1, but legitimate business owners mark up 4:1. So gobs of money to be had there.
* Assault
A career in bounty hunting, or bouncing is probably right up your alley. Bounty hunters catch and beat up people who escaped from jail or broke their bond, and bouncers beat up people who make trouble at bars. Both legally.
* Theft
As a collection agent, you steal things that people didn't pay for, thereby reclaiming it. Paid to steal, how about that? (Okay, you don't get to KEEP what you steal, that goes to the creditor. Big deal, you can probably buy it from the creditor later anyway if you really want it.)
* Money laundering
You're probably a decent accountant if you got away with this for more than about a week or so.
* Hacking
As well as a career of foiling other hackers as a consultant, the NSA is interested in you stealing information from other country's computers. (If you don't live in the United States, your country probably also has a cyber-warfare division, but don't count on me knowing what it's called.)
* Embezzlement
You'd make a decent investment banker, but you'd better use your own money. I'm sure you can understand why I'm not going to trust you with any of mine.
* Burglary
The CIA (or local equivalent) takes a continuing interest in people able to bug embassies, steal official documents, and other such acts. The stakes are higher this time, though, because if you get caught, torture and death may occur, and the CIA will disavow all knowledge of your activities.
* Pimping
Do it without violence and about a legal product and it's customer service. People call you up mad. You make them not mad, but still dissuade them from making trouble via violence. (And hopefully, preventing lawsuits.)
* Arson
If you can later extinguish the same fire you started, being a controlled burn forest ranger is for you. You start a fire, let it burn a little bit, and then extinguish it. This allows flame-dependent trees to reproduce without menacing the entire forest, and ensures that accidentally caused fires have less fuel to burn with, thereby making them less threatening.
* Fraud
If you did it as part of a confidence game, maybe you could tone it down a bit and be an excellent salesman (in which you convince people to avail themselves of a product or service). If you did it accidentally, by mis-measurement or whatever, then you're out of luck. Be more careful next time.
* Murder
CIA again (or local equivalent) has certain people that they would like to...disappear. What's that you say, you unsubtly poisoned your victim instead? Okay, fine. Executioner. Press the button when you're told to, and the guy convicted to die, dies. Since it was nationally ordered, you're not responsible.
* Reckless Driving
If you can also drive safely as well, then driver for an important person in an armored vehicle is for you. Should there be trouble, you will need to crazy-drive your way to safety, keeping a lookout for attempts to box you in. (Which you counteract by ramming, because anyone going that far is probably willing to murder your boss at all costs.) During non-emergencies, safe driving will of course be required.
* Prostitution
Massage. They're already euphemisms in advertising, I hear, and this way you don't have to have sex with your clients. Which may be desirable, if what I hear about the typical clientèle is true. Also, anyone who causes trouble in your new, legal, job, has to answer to the police.
* Vandalism
Demolition. Abandoned buildings are ugly crime magnets, and the new owner wants to build a newer, better building. First the old one must be destroyed, and that's where you come in. Salvage valuable things from the old building, then using skills we teach you, destroy it. Shake the owners hand and collect your paycheck.
* Abduction
CIA again. Sometimes they want information from people who won't cooperate. So you grab them at 3am when they're confused. You may have to return them later when the agency gets what it wants from them. Or if they're a threat, not.

Of course, one downside of this list is that the most desirable people for many of these positions are the ones that did not get caught. And those are likely to continue their crimes instead of moving into the more productive legal jobs.

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