Once the group had gone their separate ways Tom headed for the subway. While still feeling a bit light headed, he was confident of himself, having talked through the problems of trying to get away with four billion dollars. The obstacles brought up in the conversation were significant, but like they said, many of them went away if you had sufficient time to plan and access to someone with experience money laundering electronic funds.
What Tom had told his friends tonight wasn't entirely true. While Tom did have an opportunity to steal money electronically, it had nothing to do with work. Ever since Tom had met a man going by the name of Knuth years ago at a computer security conference dealing with organized crime, money laundering, and off–shore banking regulations, he had planned for this day.
He had found Knuth at the conference checking out the opposition, and over drinks Tom had gotten a brief introduction to the fine art of illegally moving money from him. They both shared an interest in securing their financial future, but it was clear that Knuth knew far more than he was letting on. It was complicated and required expert timing, but he left there with the realization that it was very possible to cleanly steal money electronically if you had the right infrastructure in place. Tom was counting on Knuth to provide that infrastructure, and they became long distance partners.
If Tom should ever find an opportunity to steal money, Knuth would provide the necessary infrastructure to receive it. They would split the take 50/50, and both trusted the other to not to narc each other out. It had taken three years, but Tom had finally found such an opportunity.
Heading South towards Wall Street Tom reviewed his preparations, looking for any reason to abort. Dan and Brian had come up with nothing he hadn't already through of, and actually strengthened his resolve. He wasn't after billions, just millions, and after that calculation Brian had run he was even more determined. Living the rest of his life on more than a million a year, inflation adjusted, was just too much to pass up. No more bitching clients, just smiling sales people.
Once off the train Tom opened his backpack, and pulled out a red duffel bag full of cloths. He pulled on a dark hoodie over his suit, and put up the hood. He then snapped on a pair of dark break away basketball pants, and swapped his fancy dress shoes for some oversized basketball sneaks. Once complete he transferred his laptop and other equipment to the red bag along with the now empty back pack.
He now sat down at a bench and waited for at least an hour. It was one of the hardest things he had ever done, the anticipation eating at him, but he assumed from the time he exited the stairs to the time he re-entered he would be under observation by the many video and traffic cameras along Wall Street, and wanted nothing he wore and nothing he did to give away any hint as to his identity. By waiting he was creating a large time window from when he entered the subway system to when he left it. If someone was to review video from when he left the exit, and tried to work backwards by looking at all the cameras as to where he had entered the system, he wanted them to have to look at a large time window. By changing his appearance he made that job much more difficult, as long as there was no camera watching him change, and he was sure of that.
Removing his watch and pocketing it, he saw it was time to go. He pulled from his pocket a pair of tinted sun glasses and headed for the exit. Climbing the stairs he put on some athletic gloves and then pulled his hood forward. He never looked up above chest height, not wanting any camera to have a clear shot of his face, and headed for one of the few remaining stands of public telephones with a deliberate and pronounced limp.
At the pay phone he slung the duffle bag over his shoulders in the front and opened it up. Quickly resuming his laptop and plugging his old Konnexx Konnector 109 acoustic coupler modem in he was ready to bite the illicit apple of financial freedom.
While war dialing the 202 area code last month with one of his pre-paid cell phones and his laptop, he had stumbled onto a system running an older copy of PC Anywhere in a default configuration. It had taken him some time to get around to checking it out, but when he realized what he had found, it was a wake up call. Some moron had hooked up their wire funds transfer PC to this remote dial up software, and now it was time for them to pay.
On went the Konnector, in went the freshly cleaned coins, and up when the connection. In short order Tom had started a transfer to the account number Knuth had provided, with all the available funds in the account, $121,247,880.23 to be exact. His cut would be close to 60 million dollars if all went well, and it was well worth the risk.
It all was over so quickly, it was almost anti-climatic. Shutting down and removing the modem he returned everything to the duffle bag before limping back to the subway. He changed his cloths back, swapping bags, and rode up to central station, killing about an hour before leaving the platform.
How do people get caught? They are greedy or sloppy. Whether this worked or not, he resolved never to try crime #2. He didn’t have to try to flee the country because Knuth was handling that end of things. He didn’t have to live off any of the money, so he would not attract any extra attention by having money move into any of his accounts.
A couple years from now he would seek out employment in London, and exit stage left. His cut of the money insured his future security, and he saw only two realistic ways in which he would get caught, Knuth betraying him or the authorities finding the phone he used to war dial in the first place. In the second case he had already destroyed the phone, and in the first, well, he was willing to take that risk.
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