CE Network goes undercover with Chris Mathers
CE Network has teamed up with Chris Mathers, an ex-RCMP, DEA and Interpol operative, to produce an exciting new course entitled Fraud and Real Estate. During the Production of the Course we took five minutes to ask Chris some questions about his fascinating life posing as a money launderer and drug dealer. We though you would enjoy this walk on the wild side.
What misconceptions do average citizens have about fraud and money laundering?
Whether it is a run-of-the-mill mortgage fraud or a multi-million dollar money laundering deal most people refuse to believe they could ever get tangled up in a criminal enterprise. I met lots of 'average' people who helped career criminals conduct their business whether they realized it or not.
Do you have any advice to help guard against this?
Hey, those are secrets of the trade... just kidding. Actually I share them in seminars, in my book and now in the upcoming course with CE Network.
What languages do you speak?
I speak English and French about the same, Italian is pretty good, and my Spanish is okay. Usually takes a day or two to get back into it. My Cantonese is basic and i have a smattering of other languages.
How far did you have to go to make the bad guys think you were one of them?
Since this is a democracy, you can't break the law. We used to sell large amounts of cocaine and heroin. But we never actually let them keep it. I just keep selling the same dope over and over.
Was there ever a moment when you believed you might be in physical danger on a "job"?
Pretty well every day. Sometimes, in a some places in Detroit and L.A. or Bogota and Panama, you'd feel that way just being there, whether you were undercover or just walking down the street to get a newspaper.
Did you ever have any difficulties separating your "true" self from your "undercover" persona?
No, that is what your friends, family, and colleagues are there for. If you start to act like a jerk, you can usually count on them to tell you right away.
Did you ever wear a wire?
I preferred not to but I did on occasion. I was searched for a wire once, and I was actually wearing on when they searched me. But they didn't find it. After that, i didn't wear them all that often any more.
Is there honor among thieves (bad guys in general)?
There are friendships and loyalties in every area of human endeavor and bad guys are no different. But when you get right down to it, they will always roll over, even on their friends. That's just the way it is. it's survival.
Did you carry a gun?
Not "a" gun. I carried two guns. Always. Everywhere. I'm a chicken.
What's the stupidest thing you ever saw / heard of a crook doing in your field?
Thinking that I wasn't going to shoot him.
What was your biggest bust?
I guess that would have to be Operation Green Ice. It was led by Sp. Agent Tom Clifford of the DEA in San Diego. I was one of the undercover guys. We laundered money for everybody from Colombian organized crime to the Italian mob to the Hells Angels. It was a great bust.
Was there one that got away?
Yes. He's a heroin trafficker. But he'll turn up. The Mounties always get their man, you know. And we're pretty serious about it.
Did you have any aliases / nicknames that were memorable?
They call me "Big Action." But when i went overseas, the Chinese guys translated it, and it came out as "Big Movement."
Did any of the bad guys have endearing / irritating habits?
Yes. Drug dealing, murder, laundering money. I found those things quite irritating.
To what would you attribute your success / survival as an undercover operative?
Luck, and the ability to run really fast in a zig-zag motion ....
What do you do now for excitement?
I do a great deal of public speaking. I find that to be the most fun. In my experience, exciting things are only exciting once you've finished doing them. When you're doing them, you're scared to death. When you finish, you say, "Hey, that was exciting. Lets do it again."