|About the Book|
The tsunami of laundered drug money surging through the US financial system has a profound corrupting effect on everyone it touches. Fuelled by America’s unquenchable thirst for cocaine, more than $500 billion dollars of laundered money is present inMoreThe tsunami of laundered drug money surging through the US financial system has a profound corrupting effect on everyone it touches. Fuelled by America’s unquenchable thirst for cocaine, more than $500 billion dollars of laundered money is present in the system, according to FBI estimates. DDM recounts the intrigue and human tragedy that results when Mexico’s ruthless cocaine cartel collides with America’s white-gloved world of private banking. Chris Callen, the protagonist is a thirty-year-old investment manager with Goldman Sachs’ New York office. After five years with the firm, he is on the fast track, destined to make partner. But the rarified environment of college, business school and Wall Street while equipping him with technical skills and polish has not taught him street-smart survival skills and savvy. He arrogantly but mistakenly believes he is a match for one of America’s premier entrepreneurs. When Jorge Ruiz, a wealthy Mexican businessman is found murdered on a deserted road in Northern Mexico, a tale of coercion, betrayal and manipulation unfolds. Ruiz, faced with the certain bankruptcy of his auto dealerships by nervous Mexican banks, turns to a shadowy Mafia-controlled finance company to bail him out. The drug lord Carlos Jimenez, who needs to launder his drug profits, controls the finance company. In return for bailing out Ruiz’ company, Jimenez coerces him to launder his drug money through Ruiz’ US investment management account with Stafford Securities (SS). The founder and owner of SS is Bill Stafford, Ruiz’ oldest and closest friend and one of San Francisco’s most successful entrepreneurs. Stafford Securities is the leading investment management firm on the West Coast. Stafford, 56, built the business single-handedly through his own drive, cunning, determination and intelligence. He is a self-made centimillionaire used to getting his own way.Stafford discovers his firm has laundered millions of dollars through the account, unwittingly. Convinced that the FBI won’t believe he was unaware of the laundering operation at his company, Stafford and his socialite wife Elaine, fear they will be jailed and their company seized by the Feds. The prospect of forfeiting their wealth, power, social standing and prestige spurs the couple to seek a solution. But in today’s very stringent regulatory environment, where US courts have convicted private bankers of money laundering based on the notion that they OUGHT TO HAVE KNOWN THEIR CLIENT’S TRUE SOURCE OF WEALTH, Stafford concedes that pleading ignorance is no defence. Further, once rumors circulate among his wealthy San Francisco clientele that he and his firm are under investigation for laundering money, he fears his clients will desert him. Stafford and Elaine craft a plan to shift blame to Chris Callen whom they hire as a partner at SS on the pretext of setting up the international division.Chris Callen struggles with accepting the rich offer, but eventually succumbs to Stafford’s aggressive wooing. Originally from San Francisco, the lure of a partnership interest in Stafford Securities and a generous compensation package, cause him impulsively to accept the job offer. A love interest, Ming Chan, a San Francisco fashion designer, is another motivation to accept the job in San Francisco, leaving New York. Chris is smart, materialistic and driven to succeed, though impulsive and arrogant. Once he takes the new job, Stafford manipulates Chris’ weaknesses (impulsiveness, materialism and arrogance) to position him to take the blame for the money laundering operation. Stafford sends Chris to Mexico to meet with Carlos Jimenez, on the pretext that his finance company is a large prospective client. Chris, eager to please his new boss and feeling the pressure to book new business, cuts corners, failing to check thoroughly Jimenez’ source of wealth and lands the new account.