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Common fronts for illegal business


What else?

by Anonymousreply 141March 26, 2023 8:25 PM


by Anonymousreply 1March 24, 2023 12:34 AM

Asian nail salons.

by Anonymousreply 2March 24, 2023 12:35 AM

Car Washes

by Anonymousreply 3March 24, 2023 12:35 AM

Hobby Lobbys are notorious dens of male prostitution and meth distribution.

by Anonymousreply 4March 24, 2023 12:36 AM

Whoops - Sorry #1 - You beat me to it…… Vaccum Cleaner Repair.

by Anonymousreply 5March 24, 2023 12:37 AM

Massage shops

by Anonymousreply 6March 24, 2023 12:38 AM


by Anonymousreply 7March 24, 2023 12:40 AM

Slovenian "Architecturing" Universities

by Anonymousreply 8March 24, 2023 12:41 AM


by Anonymousreply 9March 24, 2023 12:41 AM

Tanning Salons

by Anonymousreply 10March 24, 2023 12:43 AM


by Anonymousreply 11March 24, 2023 12:43 AM

Dry cleaners

by Anonymousreply 12March 24, 2023 12:44 AM

Floating hillbilly casinos on rivers

by Anonymousreply 13March 24, 2023 12:47 AM


by Anonymousreply 14March 24, 2023 12:50 AM

Henry Hill (Goodfellas) was involved in dog grooming, breeding and showing.

by Anonymousreply 15March 24, 2023 12:51 AM

Various small shops that seem to never sell anything

by Anonymousreply 16March 24, 2023 12:51 AM


by Anonymousreply 17March 24, 2023 12:53 AM

Towing companies

by Anonymousreply 18March 24, 2023 12:54 AM

Tuxedo Rentals

Mattress Stores

by Anonymousreply 19March 24, 2023 12:55 AM

When I was living in Manhattan in the 90s, it used to be hilarious to me how many bodegas were clearly fronts--you'd go it, and there about 100 things on the shelves, which took up very little space, and you'd wonder how these places managed to pay the rent if they were surviving on selling gum and bags of Doritos.

by Anonymousreply 20March 24, 2023 12:55 AM

Waste Management.

Whitey Bulger used to have liquor store as a front.

Bars and restaurants are good front operations.

by Anonymousreply 21March 24, 2023 12:56 AM

The Trump Corporation.

by Anonymousreply 22March 24, 2023 12:56 AM

Those gigantic beach souvenir shops in the Southeast US are Russian money laundering operations.

by Anonymousreply 23March 24, 2023 12:56 AM

In college I used to see a local fish market that for some mysterious reason never had any fish.

by Anonymousreply 24March 24, 2023 12:57 AM

Those water-refilling shops.

by Anonymousreply 25March 24, 2023 12:59 AM



lobbyist groups.

political campaigns.


student groups. (several prominent student groups have been caught directly funding terrorism)


scouts/children groups (troop 420. . . many, many, many pint size drug dealers out there. It was one of the more generic girl scouts in the late 70s. Sunshine?)

real estate

printer shops (old school now, but it was quite popular back in the day.)

by Anonymousreply 26March 24, 2023 1:00 AM

Recording studios

by Anonymousreply 27March 24, 2023 1:03 AM

Vape stores. In fact I'd go as far to say there isn't a fully legitimate one out there.

by Anonymousreply 28March 24, 2023 1:04 AM


by Anonymousreply 29March 24, 2023 1:04 AM

That's a good one, Tony/R27.

by Anonymousreply 30March 24, 2023 1:10 AM

Cigar shops

by Anonymousreply 31March 24, 2023 1:18 AM

Dairy Queen

by Anonymousreply 32March 24, 2023 1:26 AM

Any cash-only business, especially those that do not have traceable supply chains. Car washes are particularly attractive, since you cannot disprove that people did not use them. If you want to be extra careful, you let the water run all the time, buy then dump soap, etc.

Others include nurseries (for plants, not children), laundromats, and nail salons. Vending machine companies are still primarily cash-only, but that is changing.

by Anonymousreply 33March 24, 2023 1:28 AM

Locally, we had a pizza place that was a front for a major pot ring. Some of the male dealers turned tricks on the side. Also locally, a "collector's" music shop and a comic book shop were both fronts for gay male prostitution. Going to any of these three places only ensured you any of the lesser STDs or worse.

There was a statewide chain of stores that sold new and used records and cassettes as well as brokered concert tickets. It was a front for pot and cocaine dealing.

This was the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

by Anonymousreply 34March 24, 2023 1:33 AM

A certain unnamed gay website where posting sometimes involves pointless bitchery and recipes about cod and prunes.

by Anonymousreply 35March 24, 2023 1:41 AM

Banana stands

by Anonymousreply 36March 24, 2023 1:43 AM


by Anonymousreply 37March 24, 2023 1:43 AM

There are TONS of car washes that open every week in Houston. I didn't even know about Breaking Bad when I guessed that they are fronts (Although I am a huge fan of Gomorrah). I'd also say produce suppliers and restaurants.

by Anonymousreply 38March 24, 2023 1:45 AM


by Anonymousreply 39March 24, 2023 1:46 AM


by Anonymousreply 40March 24, 2023 1:46 AM

Parking lots

by Anonymousreply 41March 24, 2023 1:47 AM

Bowling alleys

by Anonymousreply 42March 24, 2023 1:47 AM

O heard a rumor once about a local used car business! I still am surprised at all these places stated here can be fronts for illegal activity. Car washes are a surprise to me! Not sure how that would work.🤔

by Anonymousreply 43March 24, 2023 1:48 AM

Here, in Toronto, there a number of these upscale Iranian-owned dental offices, in expensive downtown locations, where you never see anybody. No customers, no dentists, not even a receptionist. Unless they see all their patients only late at night, it's beyond fishy. My theory: money laundering, just like all those upper floors of expensive condo buildings which are always dark. Since Canada doesn't have its own version of RICO laws, international money laundering is rampant.

by Anonymousreply 44March 24, 2023 1:49 AM

Books/TV deals for politicians.

by Anonymousreply 45March 24, 2023 1:50 AM

Political campaigns. Years ago I donated to a friend’s campaign in Westchester County NY. He was running as the first gay to run etc. I think it was for Congress and a primary. A lackluster campaign and of course he lost. Another friend told me the guy never intended to win but he got to keep any donations left over.

George Santos also comes to mind.

by Anonymousreply 46March 24, 2023 1:57 AM

Asian Massage parlors

The Republican Party

by Anonymousreply 47March 24, 2023 2:14 AM

Helvetica is always a safe bet.

by Anonymousreply 48March 24, 2023 2:27 AM

Art Galleries, hands down are one of the biggest fronts.

by Anonymousreply 49March 24, 2023 2:28 AM

Small boutiques.

by Anonymousreply 50March 24, 2023 2:28 AM

R46 is that how that works?

by Anonymousreply 51March 24, 2023 2:29 AM


by Anonymousreply 52March 24, 2023 2:53 AM

[quote] Those water-refilling shops.

That seems odd. I'm not doubting it, it just seems odd.

Cash businesses (like car washes) make sense, though.

by Anonymousreply 53March 24, 2023 2:56 AM

There's this little mom-and-pop liquor store in my town. I had to kill time in the area and walked into it. The lights were dim, as if they were trying to save energy. There was dust on the candy bar wrappers. I walked out pretty quickly. The odd thing is that alcohol would be a regulated thing.

by Anonymousreply 54March 24, 2023 2:58 AM


by Anonymousreply 55March 24, 2023 3:24 AM

NYC pot shops, it would seem.

by Anonymousreply 56March 24, 2023 3:55 AM

Strip clubs, particularly rural ones. Usually one-stop-shops for drugs, rent-a-criminals, fake IDs and a lot more.

The rural ones are friends with the local sheriff's department and operate with impunity.

by Anonymousreply 57March 24, 2023 3:59 AM

psychic parlors

by Anonymousreply 58March 24, 2023 4:10 AM


by Anonymousreply 59March 24, 2023 4:14 AM

“Family Restaurants”

by Anonymousreply 60March 24, 2023 4:22 AM

home owner associations

human resources



by Anonymousreply 61March 24, 2023 4:26 AM

homeless services -- in particular housing, often the land and properties are owned by foreign entities that use this act of charity as leverage into politics.

or you have the examples from the catholic church to scientology and their questionable real estate deals as well as homeless programs.. the latter it's long rumoured slave ships

by Anonymousreply 62March 24, 2023 4:29 AM

We give nice massage. You give good tip, we give best experience.

by Anonymousreply 63March 24, 2023 4:33 AM

In DC in the early 2000s, a huge stretch of 16th St was shops and restaurants that were NEVER open. I had to assume they were all fronts.

by Anonymousreply 64March 24, 2023 4:36 AM

Joel fucking Osteen

by Anonymousreply 65March 24, 2023 4:41 AM

R64 should say 17th street

by Anonymousreply 66March 24, 2023 4:51 AM

tutoring (need to buy an essay? need a course or test taker? Looking for ritalin?)

by Anonymousreply 67March 24, 2023 5:03 AM


Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 68March 24, 2023 5:05 AM

Goop or wholesale dropshipping

by Anonymousreply 69March 24, 2023 5:07 AM

Shoe repair shops.

Seriously, do people actually get their shoes repaired often enough to support someone as their sole (snicker) means of financial support??

by Anonymousreply 70March 24, 2023 5:08 AM

R70, when I lived in a little town, there was one shoe repair shop that served the whole surrounding area. That shop was actually pretty busy, annoyingly so. The proprietor was an asshole, would take forever to work on your shoes, had rules about not calling him for 4 weeks to ask about your shoes. However, this asshole would immediately charge your credit card (weeks before you could pick up your shoes).

by Anonymousreply 71March 24, 2023 5:17 AM

Barone Sanitation

by Anonymousreply 72March 24, 2023 5:20 AM

When I lived in Japan, there was a restaurant diagonally across the street from me. For months, I walked past and never ate there.

One day, I was tired, walking home from the train station, and decided to try this restaurant.

FYI, Japanese restaurants often have fake food displays / models in the front of the restaurant.

This restaurant's fake food display had dust all over it. I looked inside the restaurant, nobody at the tables. I inquired with some guy at the front whether I could eat there. He looked at me as if to say: "You've gotta be kidding me."

I gave up trying to eat there. I figured it was a yakuza (Japanese organized crime) front and I sure didn't want to be annoying to the yakuza.

by Anonymousreply 73March 24, 2023 5:24 AM

You rang

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 74March 24, 2023 5:38 AM

Those American candy stores that are all throughout London..

by Anonymousreply 75March 24, 2023 5:44 AM

Candle stores are run by the mafia.

by Anonymousreply 76March 24, 2023 5:55 AM

Your local jeweler/pawn shop…

We buy & sell watches! New and Used gold & silver watches by Rolex, Omega, Movado and more!

Appraisals are free & don’t leave without your cash-offer!

by Anonymousreply 77March 24, 2023 6:04 AM

Interior design firms especially those run by innocuous blond women, somewhat overweight, of a certain age, sometimes siblings

by Anonymousreply 78March 24, 2023 6:16 AM

R76, yeah, the pussy mafia.

by Anonymousreply 79March 24, 2023 6:20 AM

Mattress. Firm

by Anonymousreply 80March 24, 2023 6:25 AM

We used to go to this cheap Chinese “restaurant” that had a $5 (or so) lunch special. I’d get Kung Pao chicken, egg roll, rice, chow main, pot stickers, & soup. Yeah, it was the early 2000s but it was way too cheap (& really delicious). The waiters looked like thugs & had no hospitality skills whatsoever. They had a huge dirty, but empty, fish tank smack dab in the middle of the room. My coworkers & I said this is a money laundering front or something.

We went there weekly, Fridays (IIRC) & one Friday we go & there’s a handwritten note on the door that just said “Bye, we’ve left” (or some such).

by Anonymousreply 81March 24, 2023 7:42 AM

In the country where I live, the fronts of money-launderers are frequently bridal shops/dress shops, stores that sell rugs and blinds, and pawn shops.

by Anonymousreply 82March 24, 2023 7:50 AM


Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 83March 24, 2023 9:20 AM

Why would Laundromats or Car Washes be illegal businesses? They seem rather benign to me and many people use them. Am I missing something here?

by Anonymousreply 84March 24, 2023 9:54 AM

The White House

by Anonymousreply 85March 24, 2023 9:57 AM

There is a locksmith on my street that has never been opened in 25 years. It has a picture window and appears to be a perfectly normal operational locksmith shop.

by Anonymousreply 86March 24, 2023 10:02 AM

Mattress stores.

There are quite a few storefronts that never seem to have any customers actually making purchases but somehow stay in business. A dusty medical supply store (the ones that actually had customers have moved online), with some hand-held urinals and neck braces in the window.

by Anonymousreply 87March 24, 2023 10:05 AM

Times New Roman

by Anonymousreply 88March 24, 2023 10:08 AM

R70, I can’t vouch for all of them, but every time I’ve been in our favorite shoe repair shop, I’m overlapping with someone else doing legit business there. I am definitely getting half soles or a new zipper, etc. My guy is pretty good.

by Anonymousreply 89March 24, 2023 10:10 AM

There's a place near me called Muscle Connection near me that's been open for about 15 years now. They sell fitness equipment. I almost never see a single car in their parking lot.

Same goes for a local fireworks place called Phantom Fireworks. The building is huge - about the size of a WalMart, as is the parking lot. Again, you can drive past it at any given moment on any given day and there isn't a single car in the parking lot.

by Anonymousreply 90March 24, 2023 10:15 AM

There’s a new store that opened on an UES side street. It seems to sell fur hats and blazers with loud prints and maybe some jewelry. It seems to be operated by an elderly Russian couple. The items sold are SO out of place in this neighborhood I can’t imagine why they opened it here. It’s bizarre. Across the street is a Russian -owned coffee shop that seems to be puttering along nicely. It’s charming and stylish and it makes a lot more sense than the fur hat shop. (They’re not even the cool kind of fur hats!)

by Anonymousreply 91March 24, 2023 10:16 AM

Cash, r84. You want a business that can plausibly generate cash. Then you turn your illegal money into “legitimate” income.

by Anonymousreply 92March 24, 2023 10:21 AM

Liberal Arts colleges.

by Anonymousreply 93March 24, 2023 10:27 AM

Y'all forgot the biggest one:


by Anonymousreply 94March 24, 2023 10:33 AM

Homes that are well kept but you never see anyone there most of the time

a few weeks ago I watched an episode of 1 of my favorite shows, Trafficked on NatGeo. There was this chemist who is 1 of the only guys in the world who knows how to make LSD. He gave her interview with a mask and disguised voice from the house where he does it. He does it in the kitchen. He spends as little time there as possible. He only goes to the home to do his lab work and then leaves while another guy does another portion of the job and a third guy is the one who comes to pick it up for sale.

It was a nice house with mowed lawn and looks so clean on the outside.

by Anonymousreply 95March 24, 2023 10:36 AM

Y'all are now giving me the heebie geebies! Thanks a lot.

by Anonymousreply 96March 24, 2023 11:05 AM


by Anonymousreply 97March 24, 2023 11:27 AM

Trump Tower

by Anonymousreply 98March 24, 2023 11:33 AM

Ethnic markets, restaurants.

by Anonymousreply 99March 24, 2023 11:33 AM

[quote] There was this chemist who is 1 of the only guys in the world who knows how to make LSD.

Really? How hard can it be? A good chemist can’t figure it out? This doesn’t make sense.

by Anonymousreply 100March 24, 2023 11:36 AM

Barber shops and beauty salons---they've long been fronts for bookie operations

Florists---they did a big phone trade with credit cards and so high end sex workers would use their accounts with credit card companies for their transactions

Antiques--a lot of drug money got "washed" in the antique trade, which ewlied on cash and probably still does

by Anonymousreply 101March 24, 2023 11:42 AM

Political office.

by Anonymousreply 102March 24, 2023 11:51 AM

Gay bars. I know that everyone loves The Stonewall, but it was really nothing but a business to front the Mafia. The police weren’t harassing it because of gay men. They were harassing it because it was a Mafia business in an Italian neighborhood.

—Marcia P. Johnson, I threw the first brick because guidos weren’t paying for their blowjobs.

by Anonymousreply 103March 24, 2023 12:31 PM

I’ve always suspected Shen Yun and Emirates Airlines to be money laundering businesses.

by Anonymousreply 104March 24, 2023 12:38 PM

Shen Yun and Epoch Times are affiliated with that Guo guy (Bannon's sugar daddy) who was arrested a week ago.

by Anonymousreply 105March 24, 2023 1:12 PM

George Santos Campaign.


by Anonymousreply 106March 24, 2023 1:30 PM

In Solvang, CA of all places there is this pretty elaborate wine tasting room that’s NEVER open. I lived there six years and the place was never once open. I just assumed it was out of business and the former owners just left the signage up. But no. Friends assured me the place was still open.

Solvang is a very weird place anyway. But the fun kind of weird with just the right amount of “sinister.”

by Anonymousreply 107March 24, 2023 1:45 PM

Dottys 🎰

by Anonymousreply 108March 24, 2023 1:54 PM

A wine tasting room would be a GREAT money laundering business.

You “sell” the wine to imaginary customers, then take the bottle of wine home and drink it yourself!

It’s “Ozark” meets “Sideways”!

by Anonymousreply 109March 24, 2023 3:33 PM

Condo or house flipping. I live next to a group of upper priced condos that always seem to on the market and upgraded then resold to the next person who upgrades and resells. No one ever lives in those condos.

by Anonymousreply 110March 24, 2023 5:04 PM


by Anonymousreply 111March 24, 2023 5:29 PM

The Republicans

by Anonymousreply 112March 24, 2023 5:36 PM

R18 is that true. I’ve met so many hot guys in tow trucks. Often young and Greek or Portuguese looking. Often it’s the family business. My last tow driver was so hot and flirty but I couldn’t tell if he was just being friendly.

by Anonymousreply 113March 24, 2023 5:38 PM

R26 Schools and scouts are not a front for anything. Stop being a perverted cunt.

by Anonymousreply 114March 24, 2023 5:40 PM

Question: how can you tell if a business is a front for money laundering vs a business that is just legitimately run badly?

by Anonymousreply 115March 24, 2023 5:46 PM

Concrete and paving businesses. Talk about hiding the bodies.

by Anonymousreply 116March 24, 2023 5:49 PM

Oval Office, 2016-2021

by Anonymousreply 117March 24, 2023 5:51 PM

R115 Why, the feds talking to you? U wanna be sleeping with the fishes.

by Anonymousreply 118March 24, 2023 5:52 PM

R115, a badly-run business will close / go out of business, at some point. A front will inexplicable stay in business for a long time.

by Anonymousreply 119March 24, 2023 6:00 PM

r107 decent pastries, though. If some people had to die. Well, it wasn't a bad trade off.

by Anonymousreply 120March 24, 2023 6:06 PM

Gypsy driveway paving businesses.

by Anonymousreply 121March 24, 2023 6:28 PM

I love Solvang. It's in a bucolic setting, has some great wine (even though I don't drink anymore), is home to some tasty pastries, is tacky as hell too. Also, Pea Soup Anderson's is not far away (always great for a visit and more tackiness in their little gift store section) as well as the Madonna Inn and Pismo Beach. I have some fond memories of all of those places and times spent there.

by Anonymousreply 122March 24, 2023 7:12 PM

According to “The Black List,” Solvang is full of people in the witness protection program.

by Anonymousreply 123March 24, 2023 7:27 PM

Ha, r123...had no idea! I've never watched that show, maybe I'll check it out now!

by Anonymousreply 124March 24, 2023 7:29 PM

I've always wanted to go to Solvang. My brother lives within reasonable driving distance, but he didn't have anything good to say about Solvang.

by Anonymousreply 125March 24, 2023 7:30 PM

Porno/smoke shops.

by Anonymousreply 126March 24, 2023 9:33 PM


by Anonymousreply 127March 24, 2023 9:37 PM

Lady Lindzebelle’s parlor.

by Anonymousreply 128March 24, 2023 9:58 PM

I'm not naming names or citing sources (ok they were the feds & local LE investigating them) but prime offenders/suspects were many of the small clothing and shoe shops on Wisconsin Av in Georgetown. Not the chain stores. Not so sure if that is still the problem there.

I live there and I had no idea. Though I knew I was able to bargain stores down like $300 boots to $185. LOL!

by Anonymousreply 129March 24, 2023 10:05 PM

Real estate.

by Anonymousreply 130March 24, 2023 10:08 PM

Mom and Pop furniture stores.

by Anonymousreply 131March 24, 2023 10:16 PM

Hookah lounges

by Anonymousreply 132March 25, 2023 3:02 AM

Convenience store

by Anonymousreply 133March 25, 2023 3:42 AM

Trump Charities (didn't the NY AG close them down a few years ago ?)

by Anonymousreply 134March 25, 2023 7:16 PM

Mike Pence & “Mother” - Agnostic Yoga instructors

by Anonymousreply 135March 26, 2023 12:02 AM

Ron DeSantis - Humanistic Psychologist

by Anonymousreply 136March 26, 2023 12:03 AM

I don't know if this is a thing outside of Brooklyn, but I've seen these Asian-owned "Music schools" popping up. They replaced the Asian "Spas" that were raided.

by Anonymousreply 137March 26, 2023 12:08 AM


by Anonymousreply 138March 26, 2023 12:13 AM

Strip Clubs

Adult bookstores with strip clubs

Gas stations (some are really crooked)

Independent small bookstores.

by Anonymousreply 139March 26, 2023 1:05 AM


by Anonymousreply 140March 26, 2023 1:11 AM

Oooh R125 apparently he controlled Gettr as well!

Adding right wing social media sites to the list.

by Anonymousreply 141March 26, 2023 8:25 PM
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