Carlos eyed the twins suspiciously, “So, gentlemen, we meet at last. I was beginning to wonder if this was an honest enterprise or not. I found our last two cancelled meetings highly annoying and an unwelcomed waste of my time, but I assume that in your line of work trust is your most important asset. I have to believe that you were really at both meeting locations, but wouldn’t reveal yourselves until you were sure I was a legitimate customer and not some undercover federale. Your call on the burner phone was quite surprising since I had only un-wrapped it thirty seconds earlier. So that tells me that you evaluate your customers before accepting them as clients in the Identity Laundering Service you have established. My compliments to your thoroughness in your craft. I have need of such thoroughness.”
Won and Ton were silent and inscrutable during this opening comment. Ton was the designated speaker in most of these types of discussions.
Ton finally spoke. “Mr. Carlos we take our trade very seriously because our clients need us to be thorough. We run a business that does not advertise in the telephone directory or the Internet nor do we have a regular place of business with our company’s logo out front. When people come to us they want peace of mind and to escape from who and what they were. We are gatekeepers to that doorway into a new life. So not only do you have to trust us, we have to trust you. So tell us, now that we have trust, how can we be of assistance?”
Carlos presented, “I have need for some new identities for myself and my associates that will allow us to, how should one say, go out and reinvent ourselves and to put distance between ourselves and some modest character blemishes unfairly awarded in our youth. I need to know how long will it take to receive a new useful identity? How much down payment as an act of good faith? Lastly, of course, how much in total?
“I would assume that yours is a cash and carry business. However, I am curious to know if currency is the only medium you deal in or would precious metals or stones be accepted as payment?”
Ton responded, “We have no experience with grading gems or weighing gold or silver, but let us confer with others in our organization before we give you an answer to that question. One of the questions you also need to answer for us is what kind of new identity do you require?”
Carlos, thinking what that might mean, asked, “What do you mean, what kind of identity?”
“Mr. Carlos, we build different types of identities for different circumstances and of course there are price differences. For instance, you may simply want a new passport so when traveling you can leave one country and enter another as a different person. Simple passports are a modest twenty-five thousand U.S. dollars.
“However you may have need to completely leave behind your identity because of modest character blemishes which means that driver’s licenses, credit cards, bank accounts, as well as work and residence history, in addition to the passport, would require changes. We farm new identities like this so people can easily get through the identity doorway to their new life.
“Farming new identities may include a past existence of someone who died early in life, but we gather those terminated identities and continue their existence over time to create the illusion that they are growing up, going to school, taking out loans, medical visits, and so forth, even though these personal milestones are only electronic in nature. We farm these deceased people’s identities for males and females so that a full new identity comes with a believable past making the transition more complete for the identity traveler.
“These efforts usually start at two-hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars. We tend to recommend that people use our service rather than invent something on their own since they are usually in a hurry to escape their past. In our experience, people who are in a hurry typically make mistakes in laundering the identity themselves. The identity farming process also takes into account that you wouldn’t want to run into an acquaintance of the deceased while using the new identity, so we also cross-check your target destination and your new proposed lifestyle to minimize a chance encounter.
“We understand that while past circumstances are such that details cannot be discussed, the more we know of your past, the easier it is to camouflage you in your next identity. It’s the details that a novice in the area of identity laundering typically misses, causing them exposure to past elements rather than an escape in total. Mr. Carlos, we cannot guarantee that our high end service will be one hundred percent flawless due to the imperfect history growing of a deceased person. We will, however, provide you with more of a believable past that will last longer than if you try to do it yourself.”
Carlos smiled at the merchant pitch and the thoroughness delivered. “So I did not realize identities were available À la carte. So I would expect then that the full identity laundering exercise would take longer to accomplish than a simple valid passport.
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