Money laundering with electronic parts

Thread Starter

Ronald Arjune

Joined Apr 28, 2016
17
The resistors and capacitors along with transistors I bought on ebay had sticky pasted paper on the ends. This gave me the belief that drug money was being laundered with electronic parts. I correlated this with the difficulty of cleaning the leads of the parts and the wrong of using drugs. Shortly after my conclusion of the paranoia I went outside to have my 8pm cigarette and there was snow on the ground and I associated this with china white or cocaine. Many parts are made in china with free shipping. I am a schizophrenic that is experiencing correlation with association to verify the unknown. Why would the parts be so cheap?
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
25,918
Many parts on eBay (and elsewhere) are super cheap because they are substandard counterfeits. Perhaps they are surplus parts that failed to meet spec. Perhaps they are a lot worse than that. One common counterfeit involves high-capacity flash drives that claim to be hundreds of gigabytes but are, in fact, the smallest, cheapest size available. When you get them they report the claimed size, but then they fill up very quickly. Try to get a refund and you discover the company doesn't exist anymore -- because they drop one name once the reviews are bad enough and start up as a new seller.
 

BR-549

Joined Sep 22, 2013
4,938
This is normal in a free market. In a free market......you get a range of quality and a range of price. This process is what gives everyone the Best product for the Best price.
If you interfere with this process.........that best quality to best price ratio with decrease. Have patience and let the market reward them. Buyer protection is built in almost every internet purchase now.

Send an un-satisfactory product back. Usually the money transaction company will take care of refunds from a difficult seller. I have had several tell me to keep product.....and give me my refund.

Read product descriptions carefully and read seller reviews. Getting the best product for the best price takes research.

People who need to laundry money............hire professionals. i.e....lawyers, banks, foundations, etc....
 

tranzz4md

Joined Apr 10, 2015
310
I imagine money laundering can be done with any marketable commodity, but due to bulk and handling expenses I would think it would occur with more expensive items. I'd suspect activities more like WBahn described, or people, essentially slaves, trying to sell things (seconds, spares, overruns, rejects, mismarks) outside the usual framework to help themselves a bit.

Of course in the market described by br549, you yourself and your energies will ultimately sell for whatever the market determines; if your marketing actions aren't good enough, your products and ideas will only, ultimately profit someone else. Unfortunately the free market is only a concept, and a poorly understood one at that.
 

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
10,195
I would agree with post #4, components are often formed in reels, using sticky tape, suitable for 'pick and place' assembly machines.
Where possible I use a pair of side cutters to cut out the component lead as close as possible to the sticky tape.

If the sticky 'goo' is not completely removed from the wire, it will result in a bad soldered joint.
Also pushing the uncleaned wire end, into a solder-less bread board will leave a residue in the BB sockets, which will cause future contact problems.

E
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,291
I will tell you a story... My ex-step-father, I'll call him Rick, always had a passion for guitars, and for playing guitars, but as far as I can tell his passion was more for the hardware. Since he was a kid he favored one specific brand of guitar (which I won't name). Rick didn't make it big in music; instead ended up in IT and telecommunications. One day the sky fell down around him; he lost his job, his wife, and kids, and was left reeling from that. He was looking for a new direction to go in; a new job, a new home, etc. and he ended up finding an open position for an IT/Telecom guy at his dream guitar manufacturer (thet made guitars/amps/etc) and moved out of state to take job even if it wasn't the best paying job or best benefits or the best location that he could have gotten with his skill set. he wanted that job.

He was excited to work there. To be inside the manufacturing area while they were the making guitars he loved so much; even if he was just pulling phone wires through the ceiling. He made a lot of friends there, with the people who designed and built the guitars. He knew the president/owner on a first-name basis. He had a lot "inside information" and knew things that were coming, before most other people knew it. He happened to learn that the president was planning to close down a production of a significant number of amp & guitar product lines and outsource them to China. He cautioned the owner not to do it, but the owner said it was either that, or shut them down completely, as they didn't have the money to continue manufacture in the USA.

So the owner did it, he moved half his production to China. The quality of his product went down and he lost a lot of customers. But that wasn't even the worst part.Within weeks/months after beginning to receive his branded guitars from China, exact copies (unbranded or rebranded) of his guitars started popping up all over the place at a fraction of his cost. The customers he had left didn't see the point in paying a premium for a name that didn't mean anything anymore, and started buying the "fakes."

The sad fact about the "fakes" is that they weren't "fake" at all. They came off the exact same assembly line as the "real" ones. The Chinese company who had a contract to build 1,000 guitars to the American company owner would instead make 3,000 guitars, and send the first 1,000 through the QA process prescribed by the American and put the American brand name on them, and send the other 2,000 through a different (lesser or non-existent) QA process and slap a different brand name on them.

This is "selling your soul to the Devil" when you outsource to China. The American guitar company is pretty much done now. Rick was laid off along with the majority of the other employees. I think they're still having guitars made in China but the company is nothing like it once was. When you sell out like this, this is how we end up with the things you are finding on eBay. They were probably originally designed and manufactured as quality components, but now they are reduced to the very lowest quality possible. And I think that's all there is to it. I don't see any more likely answer. I think "money laundering" is a bit of a stretch. Especially if the parts are coming from china. What reason do the Chinese have to launder money through other countries?
 

Thread Starter

Ronald Arjune

Joined Apr 28, 2016
17
I would agree with post #4, components are often formed in reels, using sticky tape, suitable for 'pick and place' assembly machines.
Where possible I use a pair of side cutters to cut out the component lead as close as possible to the sticky tape.

If the sticky 'goo' is not completely removed from the wire, it will result in a bad soldered joint.
Also pushing the uncleaned wire end, into a solder-less bread board will leave a residue in the BB sockets, which will cause future contact problems.

E
That's what I worry about-unreliable electrical contact on the breadboard. I used sandpaper on the led leads.

My paranoia indicates that the function of 'truth' is creating a physical dilemma and established the fault.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,760
The sad fact about the "fakes" is that they weren't "fake" at all. They came off the exact same assembly line as the "real" ones. The Chinese company who had a contract to build 1,000 guitars to the American company owner would instead make 3,000 guitars, and send the first 1,000 through the QA process prescribed by the American and put the American brand name on them, and send the other 2,000 through a different (lesser or non-existent) QA process and slap a different brand name on them.
Same thing with a lot of GM electrical parts sold under the AC-Delco name. First two shifts of the day are put in AC-Delco boxes, the third shift they get put in off brand boxes.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
25,918
He cautioned the owner not to do it, but the owner said it was either that, or shut them down completely, as they didn't have the money to continue manufacture in the USA.
If this was the owners honest and accurate assessment, then they had those two choices. Move manufacturing offshore because U.S. production costs had priced them out of the market, or shut down completely. They chose to "sell out" and are still in business as a shadow of their former selves with a fraction of their former workforce still employed by the company. Is this better or worse than taking the other option and being out of business with none of their former workforce employed by the company any more?

The underlying cause is that not enough people are willing to pay premium prices for quality products in order for that to be a major point of competition among manufacturers. This is actually pretty rational for those segments, which includes a lot of the consumer electronics industry, where even top-quality items would have a very limited lifespan since it will be overtaken by new technology and new features in a year or two anyway. Where the real shame is that it is also true in segments where items, such as guitars, ARE typically purchased and kept for many, many years.

But at the end of the day, it is still the case that this is what the bulk of the market wants and manufacturers principally serve the broader market.

We are going to be looking to buy a new BD/DVD player soon and the one manufacturer that I will not even consider is Sony. I used to buy Sony for all of my A/V stuff because twenty years ago I was impressed by the quality of their products in the mid-price range. But I am done giving them the benefit of the doubt. The last five items I have purchased from them lasted anywhere from one week to less than a year before developing serious problems. So they have lost me forever as a customer. I will have to do a bit of research to try to find a decent quality player. I'm willing to pay more for the quality, but there is a real limit and I'm not willing to pay astronomical prices even for truly high-quality equipment. In some areas, yes, but not for boob-tube entertainment.
 

philba

Joined Aug 17, 2017
960
I doubt there is money laundering involved. Others have pointed out more prosaic possibilities which are highly likely. The cheap components are very likely surplus from production runs. The cheap modules may be just that - cheaply made modules. Or, they could be QA rejects for color, alignment or other non-electrical issues. I've gotten LEDs with misaligned components but they still work, just not with a pretty PCB.

As to the residue - try isopropyl alcohol and if that doesn't work, acetone. Pretty sure one or the other will take care of the residue.
 

tranzz4md

Joined Apr 10, 2015
310
Not wanting to go off-thread, but responding mostly to #10 above, I'd like to suggest consideration of a business life cycle. I hope that the person that started the guitar, or any other, business doesn't feel hit by lightning (or "rolling in their grave")! Was the business started to primarily "get paid" to do what the originator loved to do (in this case build guitars), or to make some money by doing whatever, or the most marketable thing, the originator could come up with?

This is not often seriously contemplated, but as life cycles of even larger and larger businesses are shortening, perhaps it will be.

I don't believe that "China or nothing" weren't the only options available, but that they were the only ones deemed viable to that owner, in his circumstance. He may or may not regret it.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,291
If this was the owners honest and accurate assessment, then they had those two choices. Move manufacturing offshore because U.S. production costs had priced them out of the market, or shut down completely. They chose to "sell out" and are still in business as a shadow of their former selves with a fraction of their former workforce still employed by the company. Is this better or worse than taking the other option and being out of business with none of their former workforce employed by the company any more?
Well the option he had was move half of the production to China or stop production of that half. I don't know. It's a tough call and I can't really say what I would do in that situation. If it were a choice between moving 100% of the company overseas or losing it all, I might move it to China. But if it's just half, I think I would probably just shut it down to save the reputation of my company. To be able to continue to say 100% Made in America. That would keep my loyal customers loyal hopefully. Because as soon as someone sees "made in China" on your brand, they apply that to your whole brand, not not just the product in their hands.

Either way half my employees are out of a job and it sucks all the way around.
 
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