WASHINGTON—Dealing in millions of paper bills and electronic payments every year, often in plain sight, thousands of U.S. businesses that provide clothing, food services, home goods, and more are actually operating as elaborate moneymaking fronts, federal prosecutors discovered this week. “Though appearing from the exterior to be legitimate operations, thousands of businesses in local communities across the nation are actually covering for organized rings of moneymakers whose whole purpose is to earn profits,” U.S. Attorney Office spokesman Martin Langler said following the successful raid of a front organization in Virginia, a so-called quality home furnishings outlet that was found to have thousands of dollars of paper bills in registers throughout the store as well as a large supply of cash procured through the storefront and then deposited into a private bank account. “These are major moneymaking schemes involving multiple employees who are taking money from sold goods and services and then counting them as profits for the store. Even a place as innocent as a restaurant, for example, can be operating as an intricate front in which food is exchanged for money, with the owners and staff of this establishment receiving a cut of the earnings for themselves. This is happening all over America.” Langler went on to confirm that a special prosecutor is currently investigating reports that the federal government may itself be receiving a cut of the profits from these businesses via taxes.
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