Home > The Scam (Fox and O'Hare #4)(6)

The Scam (Fox and O'Hare #4)(6)
Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg

“Check your email,” Nick said. “You’ve got an important message from your daughter.”

Jessup used his phone to browse his email. “She says that she’s in Budapest, her wallet and passport have been stolen, and she needs me to wire her two thousand dollars right away. Where did this email really come from?”

“Kelso’s boiler room in Manila, where he’s got a dozen Filipinos who send out emails to hundreds of grandparents every month using information gleaned from Facebook,” Nick said. “One of my associates hacked into Kelso’s computers last night. He sent out emails like the one you got to the U.S. attorney general, all nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the police chiefs of every major American city. Each email is embedded with digital breadcrumbs that lead directly to Kelso’s boiler room. I’ll bet you five million dollars that Kelso will be in handcuffs within forty-eight hours.”

Jessup nodded, not so much with approval than with grudging respect. “I’d wager that it’ll be closer to twenty-four hours.”

Kate was relieved. Jessup’s comment was the closest thing to his retroactive approval that they were going to get. Probably best not to mention the newly acquired helicopter at this time.

“Since you’re in a betting mood, you’ll like your next assignment,” Jessup said, handing Kate the file folder under his arm. “We want you to take down Evan Trace.”

Evan Trace was the forty-year-old owner of Côte d’Argent, the Las Vegas casino where the generation of celebrities who’d never known a world without The Simpsons did their gambling, partying, and general debauchery. He was a dead ringer for Brad Pitt, a resemblance he played to the hilt in a series of stylish commercials for Côte d’Argent. He’d made himself the new, hip face of Vegas.

“Trace’s boutique casinos in Las Vegas and Macau are laundromats for terrorists, mobsters, drug lords, street gangs, and despots who want to wash their dirty money,” Jessup said. “They turn around and use that clean cash to do all sorts of nasty things, like buy weapons, bribe politicians, and finance terrorist attacks.”

“It’s simple, really,” Nick said. “You walk into a casino with some money, buy a bunch of chips, and gamble for a while. Then you hand over the chips that you have left to someone else, say the owner of a vintage Ferrari you want to buy, and he cashes them in. That’s it. There is no record that ties you to the transaction. Your money has been washed.”

“Sounds to me like you’re speaking from experience,” Jessup said.

Kate set the file on the massive coffee table. “I know he is. I’ve seen the Ferrari.”

“Playing baccarat is a much more entertaining way to move cash than working with crooked bankers, crafty accountants, and shell corporations,” Nick said. “And you get free drinks while you’re doing it, too.”

“I get why you do it,” Kate said. “But I don’t see what’s in it for Trace.”

“He gets whatever a player loses gambling and a five percent skim at the cashier’s cage when the chips are cashed in,” Jessup said. “Plus he makes some very powerful friends.”

“It seems so easy,” Kate said. “I’m surprised that more casinos aren’t doing it.”

“That’s because we closely watch what goes on here, or at least we try to,” Jessup said. “But nobody’s watching in Macau.”

“Why not?” Kate asked.

“There are thirty-five casinos in Macau, and combined they generate forty billion dollars annually in gambling revenue,” Jessup said. “The Chinese government takes forty percent of that in taxes.”

“That’s their skim,” Nick said. “Not counting the kickbacks and bribes the casinos pay to local cops and government officials.”

“That’s a lot of incentive to look the other way,” she said.

“And they do,” Jessup said. “In Macau, ninety percent of the gambling revenue comes from whales: super-rich gamblers who’ll bet millions of dollars in one night. We know from our surveillance that most of the whales that gamble at Côte d’Argent are laundering money for al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who target Americans. That makes Trace a criminal and a traitor. He has to be stopped. But the U.S. has no jurisdiction in Macau, and the Chinese government won’t help.”

“Seems like a job for the CIA,” Nick said.

“The White House won’t let them touch it,” Jessup said. “They won’t take the risk that U.S. spies might get caught sneaking around in Chinese territory.”

Hot Novels
  • Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Chris
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
  • Never Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #2)
  • Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
  • Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculi
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
  • Fallen Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #1)
  • Forever Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #3)
  • Ugly Love
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3)
  • Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)
  • Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
  • The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coinc
  • Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)
  • Uprooted