From Fraudster to DEA Stingster to International Policy Advisor

Meet Keith Bulfin, an Australian stockbroker convicted for fraud and then recruited from an Australian supermax prison by the DEA for expensive and elaborate stings against the Mexican Cartels. His new book, Undercover: Story of a Life bills itself as "A true story of drug multi-millionaires, shoot-outs, executions, betrayal, armed car chases, assassins, double-agents, revenge, survival... and finally, redemption." From his bio:

Keith spent three years in a Supermax prison, where he was introduced by prison authorities to two Mexican fugitives. It was his friendship with them that led to his recruitment by the US Department of Justice to operate a covert banking operation in Mexico for the Mexico drug cartels. He was reassigned to Washington DC and the FBI to operate a covert bank, targeting Middle Eastern countries and terrorist organisations. He has worked as an expert advisor on money laundering with the National Security Council in Mexico, various foreign governments, policing agencies and multinational companies.


Here's a taste of the extravagant scheme hatched by the DEA to have Bulfin set up a Mexican cartel leader named Daniel Gomez, who had served time with Bulfin. I especially like this part about the DEA sending him with a "stunning" female DEA agent to an art auction at Christie's in New York:

Sally and I look the part. She wears a flattering black Armani business suit purchased by the DEA, jewellery from Dior which she has to return to the shop on Fifth Avenue, and reading glasses from Dolce & Gabbana, also to be returned.

She is stunning. I successfully bid for the paintings and sit with a Christie's director to arrange for our Wells Fargo Bank to transfer the funds, a total of $26.5 m, to the Christie's account at Chase Manhattan. Afterwards, I return my perfectly-cut pinstriped Armani suit to the store.

Question: Did Armani, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana know they were contributing to a DEA effort? Or were they tricked, along with the unsuspecting consumer who later purchased the used sunglasses and suit?

After all the money the DEA spent on first class airfare, luxury hotels, meals and security, what did it get? Here's what happened to Daniel Gomez. He went free.

Daniel fought against his extradition to Mexico for several years in Australia until a satisfactory deal was struck with the Mexican authorities. A satisfactory deal for Daniel, that is. Upon his return to his native country, he was immediately released and, after several months, all charges against him were dropped. Like nothing ever happened. Rumour has it this freedom cost him $30 m.

In addition to Bulfin's book, his story will be coming to a screen near you, in The Banker. The film is in production with a $40 million budget.

Curiously, the book promo says at the end,

Undercover is a chilling novel that delves into the inside workings of Mexican drug cartels and the DEA, and reveals one man’s courage in outwitting them both in his personal battle for redemption.

It might be worth reading just to see how he "outwitted" the DEA and got his life back.

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    not to be snarky or anything, (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 01:28:08 PM EST
    but how difficult can it possibly be to "outwit" the DEA? historically, their people aren't the brightest bulbs in anyone's box. as best as i can tell, the one thing they are very, very good at, is spending wads of taxpayer funds. anything else, not so much.

    No DEA informant... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 01:56:25 PM EST
    is in it for anything but themselves...favors, cash, freedom to operate their own criminal enterprise.

    This winner ain't the only one playing the DEA like a fiddle...it's s.o.p.


    Who got the paintings? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 08:30:05 PM EST