4 Most Lucrative Black Market Trades

Johnny Depp Blow

Back alleys, dark apartments with papered up windows, and dealings with people that have facial scars/tattoos. No, I am not describing last Sunday’s church service, but rather what you might expect if you delve into the world of the black market or working within the shadow economy. Look at my previous article if you’d like a bit more information on working in System D (yet another cool moniker for the economic system that works outside the auspicious legal governments). So, since you’re committed to engaging in criminal activity but want to explore your options, here are some of the most lucrative black market trades.

1. Forger


OK, so there are different categories of forgers: some deal in documents such as contracts, others in personal documents such as I.D.s, passports and visas, but easily the most lucrative, due to the immense security that surrounds their target, are financial forgers. Although it’s usually combined with identity theft so that they can issue more credit cards and get more money, forgers can also print checks, bonds, and even currency.

What could be more lucrative than printing your own money? Well, take it easy there, Gotti: you need almost a half a million-dollar investment initially to produce fake currency, as reported on GQ, to even come close to tricking a government. On top of that, you have to consider that counterfeit cash only makes the forger about thirty percent of the fake currency’s face value. So if you were to make $100 bills (which would be stupid because everyone checks 100s) you’d only be making $30. It would take four $100 bills to make $120.

There’s another caveat here, Slick: the more money you produce, the easier it’s going to be for law enforcement to track you, shut you down, and arrest you. Yet another unforeseen system of checks and balances (financial pun) is once you start spending that money, the tax man is going to show up at your front door and say: “Hello, Mr. Suspected Counterfeiter, it says here that you bought eight Bentleys, two Gulfstream planes, and a rare, albino koala. It also says here that you own a Financial Services Company, but you don’t pay yourself anything… how did you get this money?” And answering “My grandma sends me very generous birthday gifts” just isn’t going to cut it. If you claim that your grandma sends you mad stacks, where are the hastily discarded greeting cards?

2. Organ Merchant


We’ve all heard the story about the American tourist who, after a night of binging with locals in Mexico/Thailand/Eastern Europe, woke up in a bathtub full of ice, a huge incision on his/her side, and a note covered in bloody fingerprints that read “call an ambulance. You have 2/3/12 hours to live”. Well, that’s complete malarkey, firstly because they would probably kill you than leave a witness and, secondly, brokers usually have an underground information network which solicits its fair share of volunteer organ donors (that get paid… they volunteer to get paid to remove their organs not to give away their organs).

Often, the areas they are active in are impoverished areas/countries such as Brazil, India, or the former Eastern Bloc. According to HowStuffWorks, one Israeli broker (who had made $4 million before he was found) said that he would source the organs from people in the Eastern Bloc and fly them to Turkey where the necessary organs would be removed and then transplanted to paying customers. A healthy liver can sell for about $150,000 and procured for just a couple of hundred from people that are destitute.

If there is only one grotesque and inhuman black market activity, it’s the organ trade which literally takes a piece of people for a piece of bread. Check out this infographic by Medical Transcription if you want to know how much your body parts cost on the black market. Please, don’t sell anything, though… you only have one of each – well, except kidneys and lungs, but still… you need all of them for a good quality of life.

3. Arms Dealer


The legal guys/gals are heavily scrutinized by both their local governments and international watchdog agencies to make sure the weapons that can cause death and destruction are only in sanctioned and certified hands. The problem (well, it’s not a problem for you, really) is that the people that shouldn’t have weapons are the ones that want them the most. You know the type: hit men, terrorists, bank robbers, dictators, drug dealers, other black market arms dealers, your veritable cornucopia of social deviants, if you will. Sounds easy, right? I mean, there is even an honor system amongst criminals that doesn’t allow for degenerates to snitch each other out, which means you can enact your transaction and sleep at night… kind of.

I say ‘kind of’ because that social contract amongst outlaws doesn’t cover being shot for infringing on another dealer’s territory, psychotic episodes that result in shootings, or being shot because you lowballed the seller with offensive offers. See, even the underground has its own form of unbreakable contracts… Well, again, death is probably an exemption clause: One or both parties can breach contract without repercussions in the case that they are released from their mortal coil, i.e.: when someone is pumped with so many holes that they resemble human Swiss cheese.

4. Drug Dealer


If Hollywood taught us anything about drugs is that they are fun, they make you lots of money, and that they are a necessary accoutrement if you want to be any type of musician. Of course, every musical genre has its preferred type of intoxicant: 80s hair metal bands do cocaine, jazz musicians enjoy reefer, and anything depressing goes hand-in-hand with heroine.

The great thing about the drug trade is that, even if it is legalized, a large portion of their sales are still off the books. OK, so let’s get a few things straight: first, the more dangerous the drug, the more money you can make; second, the bigger the shipment, the higher the risk yet the bigger the payoff… You know what? Just watch Scarface, it’ll give you the gist.

Are there any other black market jobs that you think can make you a fat stack of bills? Let me know in the comments section below… I know I shouldn’t have to do this every time, but I prefer my ass un-sued, so here goes: this is by no means an endorsement of criminal activity by myself or the website I write for. Engaging in activities that I mentioned above (hopefully in an entertaining way) are intended just as such: entertainment. Choosing to engage in such activities could result in death by gun, machete, switchblade, cement shoes and sleeping with the fishes, Molotov cocktail, immolation, evisceration, and decapitation.