Frank Bourassa counterfeited and sold $250 million in fake US currency until he was nabbed in an undercover operation. Now he runs a security company and works with the police to catch other counterfeiters. This is part one of a two-part episode. Follow through to part two here!
What We Discuss with Frank Bourassa:
- How someone creates a quarter of a billion dollars in American $20 bills that not only look genuine, but feel genuine even to experts.
- The hours of research that Frank spent learning how to create counterfeit money that would pass most muster without immediately going to jail on his first attempt.
- The catalyst that drove Frank to pursue a life of crime in the first place (and has probably tempted most of us to consider it from time to time).
- It takes money to make money: Frank reveals the startup fees that went into his operation to literally print the perfect $20 bills en masse.
- How much labor actually goes into a counterfeiting project at this scale — once you find a crew you think you can trust.
- And much more…
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Recognized by law enforcement as the first and foremost validated authority in the counterfeiting world today, Frank Bourassa didn’t start out trying to catch counterfeiters — he was a counterfeiter himself, shaking his money faker operation to the tune of $250 million in US$20 bills. When the formidable international task force intent on bringing him down eventually caught up with him, he managed to become a free man again after serving only six weeks in prison and paying a $1,350 (Canadian!) fine. How’d he manage that? Only Frank Bourassa and the feds know.
In this two-part episode, we’ll examine the extreme measures Frank took to create the most undetectable $20 bills ever made — and that are still in circulation long after Frank’s 2012 arrest (maybe you spent one today). We’ll hear about where the money went after he printed it, how he was eventually found out by the feds, and how he uses his talents to assist them today. This is part one of a two-part episode. Follow through to part two here! Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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THANKS, FRANK BOURASSA!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Frank Bourassa | Website
- Know Your Money: Counterfeit Awareness | United States Secret Service
- Frank Bourassa on How He Counterfeited $250 Million | Business Insider
- The Great Paper Caper | GQ
- This Man Made $250M in Counterfeit Money and Got Away with It* | GQ
- Can You Spot a Fake $100 Bill? The World’s Greatest Counterfeiter Shows You How | GQ
- How to Print $250 Million in Fake Money and (Mostly) Get Away With It | Vice
- Master Currency Counterfeiter Prints Millions, Says ‘Screw You’ to US | ABC News
- On Master Counterfeiter Frank Bourassa | Loyal Nana
Frank Bourassa | The World’s Greatest Counterfeiter Part One (Episode 488)
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:02] Frank Bourassa: Doing it good a hundred percent of the time and never failing. Just us walking, we do miss a step, fall in a crack or something, and we're good at walking. We're practicing plenty. And even that we screw up sometimes. If you screw up one place, even if you've been good, 4,000 times for four years, it's not going to matter. The outcomes, they're going to be the same. You got to get caught, you got to get arrested, and then, you know, it can turn nasty. You need to avoid that a hundred percent of the time. So why would you want someone risking pulling up your notes and looking at them? They will scrutinize more a 50 than a 20 obviously. Nobody looks twice at a 20 because it's just what we use. So the more invisible, the better.
[00:00:50] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional arms dealer, mafia enforcer, or neuroscientist. And each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:17] If you're new to the show or looking for a handy way to tell your friends about it, we now have episodes starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by popular topics to help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started or to help somebody else get started. And of course, we always appreciate that.
[00:01:38] Today, on the show, a Canadian hustler becomes the greatest self-taught currency counterfeiter of all time. Creating $250 million of perfect US $20 bills before outfoxing a formidable international task force intent on bringing him down, only to ultimately walk free and turn his life around. A quarter of a billion dollars — how do you print a quarter of a billion dollars, get pinched by the Feds, and walk out of prison after serving six weeks? Only Frank Bourassa knows. This is a man who printed his own fortune and then lost it. Or did he? Today, the incredible story of Frank Bourassa, the world's greatest counterfeiter.
[00:02:20] And if you're wondering how I managed to book amazing guests like these authors, thinkers, creators, and the occasional criminal every single week, it's because of my network. And I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. You don't need to be booking podcast guests with your network. Maybe you're trying to get a job or a raise or just get connected in a new place, new city, new town. By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course, they contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company. Jordanharbinger.com/course is where that is. All right, here we go with Frank Bourassa.
[00:02:52] Well, one thing that I noticed about you is that you're very determined to figure things out. I mean, we had a microphone issue last week or whatever, or earlier this week, and you were like, "I'm figuring this out, I'm figuring this out." And I've heard that so many times before, but you did. You figured out all the tech, you set it all up the day before the show, which is really impressive. So I got this like tiny glimpse into how hard you try to get things figured out, right? Like how hard you work to get things figured out. A lot of people don't do that. And I sort of see a little window into how you were able to crack the code of forging currency.
[00:03:27] Frank Bourassa: Well, yeah, because everything I choose to get involved with it is done by choice because I want to, you know, same as we're doing here. You know, I'm happy to be here and excited and all that. So you have to put in whatever you need to put in for it to work, right? So if it implies you of figuring out some tech stuff, whatever it takes, well, you need to get it done, otherwise, you're not going anywhere. So you have to do it. There's no other way, right?
[00:03:51] Jordan Harbinger: No, there's no other way. Exactly. How did you grow up? You know, a lot of people will think, okay, counterfeiting — you know, it could go either way. It could be street crime or it could be like, "No, my dad was a lawyer and I just thought this was easier." You know, it can kind of go either way.
[00:04:05] Frank Bourassa: Well, it was kind of the perfect childhood. There's no real story there. You know, I had the best parents in the world. I really did. And there were law-abiding people. I don't have any horror stories to tell when I was young, fortunately enough. So I'm really grateful for that, obviously. So just, you know, hardworking, legit people, and this is how I started. This is what I did too. I started, you know, when I was really young with a newspaper run that I had when I was, I don't know, eight or 10 or whatever. At one point, I guess, I just thought things were not moving fast enough or something. So this is why I started to notice other things around me. Other people, you know, different people do different things and I just evolved from there. But I had a really wonderful, wonderful childhood. I really did.
[00:04:52] Jordan Harbinger: What was your first foray into crime? You know, obviously, you don't start by counterfeiting a bunch of money. I think I said forging earlier, but I meant counterfeiting. Obviously, you don't start there, you start somewhere else. Did you have a gateway crime, so to speak that you worked on?
[00:05:07] Frank Bourassa: Well, for a lot of people, at least, I grew up in a very quiet town. It's a nice place, you know, nice people. There's no major crime or violence or any of that. So it's just a standard, really nice place to be. And the school that I was at, this is a high school — well, there were some kids I started noticing, some of them were stealing clothes and stuff like that. While we're talking about it and all that, then one day it occurred to me if you've got this — and I went and talked to them, "You know, if you've got this product that you have all the time and you sell something to me, if I got to find people to sell it to, you know, she can sell it to me and then I'll sell it to them and then I'll make money out of it. He said, "Yeah. Yeah, sure, sure, sure." So it kind of evolved that way. It was really natural. I was just me connecting the dots and I did. And I started making money, so, I said, "Oh, this is good. This is really good."
[00:06:03] Jordan Harbinger: It was like an arbitrage of, was it stolen clothes or just — what kind of clothes were these?
[00:06:08] Frank Bourassa: Yeah.
[00:06:08] Jordan Harbinger: Stolen clothes?
[00:06:09] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Stolen clothes, yeah, yeah. So that wasn't my thing, you know, me directly, but there were like a bunch of them and they were quite busy, I'd say so, wow. I'm going to find people for it. Everything worked just fine. They were happy to sell. I was happy to buy. Clients were happy to buy so it went good. I was in high school. It didn't take long. I was making more money than my parents were. So I said, "Well, this is better. Now we're going somewhere or maybe. It's looking good.
[00:06:35] Jordan Harbinger: These were like, they would go shoplift and then get the clothes. And then you'd say, "Hey, I know some guys who would buy these jeans, or I know some guys who buy this jacket," and then you sold the goods. So you're essentially just fencing stolen goods at that point.
[00:06:48] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, exactly. We talk often and you know, they tell me, "Well, we have this, we have this, we have this." And then I find people for it. And then my people, my clients, at that time we started, are asking me, "Hey, could you get this? Could you get this?" "Well, let me look into it." So then I go back to the guys and I say, "Listen, I have some people who'd be interested in this and this. Is that something you can get?" They say, "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah." So not so long after I started, I started coming back with lists of, "You can get this?" Then I have people for it and say, "Yeah, yeah, sure. We'll talk about that," and they did. So they bring it back and so I started coming with pre-order type thing. So buyers were happy. They were happy to sell. Apparently, it was going good for them too, because they kept bringing it in. So it worked fine.
[00:07:32] They didn't evolve quickly into cars and stuff, mags and tires, and stuff like that. Those people, they were kind of good. I don't know what — I'm guessing, it's got to be kind of hard to get tires or stuff, but they did. So people, friends who have friends who have friends, so I knew them from school. I didn't hang out with them but I met them from school. Well, there are other like-minded people, you know, same as them who were doing other stuff. So when I came back with the car stuff, they said, "Well, we don't, but we know people can do that." "See if you can find those things then I have people for it." And so we started to bring in other people for that type of product, so spoilers, you know, that type of thing for cars at a time.
[00:08:19] So it sorts of evolved from the clothing guys to the car guys, so that then it was car stereos and speakers and amplifiers and stuff like that. So those were pretty popular. So it would sell for more. So it was more profitable, so I was, "Yeah, sure, sure. I'm in, I'm interested," and I had a steady flow of people that I was finding because the same thing as we're talking about, this is what you need to do to make it work. We need to figure out a way to get it, so I did. I'd bring in a steady flow of a lot of lists so I was keeping them busy, and we're happy. So it was good for everyone. So it worked well.
[00:08:53] Jordan Harbinger: Did you ever try your hand at like a legitimate business?
[00:08:56] Frank Bourassa: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I did when I was 15 or 16. A friend of mine, he was into cars. He was buying and selling cars and those stuff. He was a really, really close friend of mine but I didn't know anything about cars. And so teach me how to fix cars. And then I moved on to working as a mechanic at the garage. And then I went into garage and worked there for a couple of years and moved on to a bigger one, bigger one. And then after, probably five or six years, I said the only difference between my boss at the time and me is that, you know, he's, he's writing the check so I could be doing that.
[00:09:32] So at 21, I bought my first, it was a gas station with a garage attached to it. So I was servicing gas, not me, but I had people doing little things, but it was going really good. And then it was fixing the cars for myself. So it was only the same thing, but I was cutting the checks now.
[00:09:49]Jordan Harbinger: What gave you the idea to try counterfeiting? You know, what was the turning point between, "Hey, I like tinkering with cars. This is great. I have my own business," to, "You know what? I'm just going to print my — like cut out the middleman, the whole job thing. I'm just going to print my own money"? What happened there?
[00:10:05] Frank Bourassa: Many things happened in between the garage and the counterfeiting thing. In between them, I moved on from the garage and then that started a factory when I was manufacturing car parts. And while I was doing that, some friends of mine that I had earlier in my life, I was working so much that I wasn't seeing a whole lot of people like, and then, so I hooked up with those friends one day and they were involved in the marijuana trade at that time. It wasn't legal then. But they kind of fit right in, it was the same deal. They were growing that stuff and they had plenty of it. So I said, "If I find people, would you sell them to me?" So it was basically the same—
[00:10:45] Jordan Harbinger: Same thing you did in high school, right?
[00:10:47] Frank Bourassa: Same thing I did in high school. Exactly. So I've learned myself to that and it worked beautifully. This was a segue into this next level, you know, if I'd say illegal thing that you can do, and they were exporting some of that stuff. They were heavily — so I got more and more and more involved in doing that. And this was really, really, really good. But at one point, prices kicked out of it for a number of years, probably four or five or six, same thing. It just so happens that prices started coming down.
[00:11:19] Jordan Harbinger: Marijuana prices started coming down.
[00:11:22] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. It started coming down. At that time when I got involved, it was 4,000 US per pound. By the time I dropped everything, it was 1500 Canadians so it's like, you know, 11, 1200 US. And so the law, it was just starting at a time, kind of just starting. So law is a very slow process. It will come. It is slow, but it is steady. So you can count on it. It's going to come and it's going to do its thing, but just take a little bit of time. But the more we went, the more complicated everything got and just stiffer penalties went. So it got to a point where, we're just at 15, 1200, let's say, US. We would get it by then, and then all the risks. And now you're not facing, a little couple of weeks, you're fishing, longer time. It just got too risky. There was just no more money to be made. So then this stopped being an income for everyone really.
[00:12:20] Well, we all got to this point and most people still are to this day, actually, got to this point where we said, "Well, what are we going to do next?" I said, "Well, I don't know. We need to find something. We need to figure something out." So I was just thinking, thinking, and this lasted for a long time and it's lasted for a couple of years, at least. And it seems to be a dead end, but damn was I thinking all the time, because by that time, like I said, I had started my factory. We're manufacturing car parts. Well, I've worked myself — I burned myself out. I really did. So it was working to where it was a day. I enjoyed it a lot, but I just couldn't work anymore for a bit. And I got some new hospital. It was horrible, horrible time. I crashed big time.
[00:13:08] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. You really got — I mean, if you burned out to the point where you got sent to the hospital, that's pretty bad.
[00:13:13] Frank Bourassa: No, it was beyond. And then, it just sent the hell out of me and I was zero vitamin this and zero that, a lot of stuff was zero. So they kept pumping pouches of this and pouches of that into me, trying to get me back on, I was knocked out. It was — we're talking about fast here, quickly about it, but it was a horrible, horrible time in my life.
[00:13:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:13:33] Frank Bourassa: That made no sense to me. And it happened one day. I just woke up one day and then I just crashed for one day. I was shaking, I can't f*cking leave. And this lasted for a long time. I kept chasing darkness. You got to get to figure out, you got to fix me up. Damn what I have. I didn't know. And this, it dragged, it dragged. And so I said, "Well, I'm going to get my mind off things." So my girlfriend at that time said, "Well, we're going to travel." So I spent like the next two or three years traveling
[00:14:03] Jordan Harbinger: So you burned out. And then you were like, "You know what? European vacation," right? Like, "Let me go see some giraffes in Africa or something like that and come back."
[00:14:12] Frank Bourassa: Exactly.
[00:14:13] Jordan Harbinger: What happened when you came back? I mean, I assume you went, "Man, I can't keep working like this. I'm going to freaking die. What do I do?"
[00:14:20] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, exactly. So being poor was not an option, so I'm going to start a new business. No, it's going to be same deal. So I got to find something that, so what's it going to be. And then, you fall back on the searching, think ring, and turn it up, day in, day out. It's all we do. And then we'd meet up the same dudes, my friends. It's like, "Hey, do you have anything? Did you meet anyone? Any good ideas that we can do and we'll get partnered in? Anything?" "No, we're looking to, we're looking to." It never picked up for most until now because the only stuff left was stuff that none of us was interested in, like the heavy stuff, like cocaine and stuff. It's just not my thing. It's just totally not my world. I hate everything about that kind of thing. You know machine guns and stuff like that, just not me. You know, they can make out for $50,000 transaction or like six guys with machine guns. I mean, what the f*ck? But this is my thing. It's not going to be my life. I don't want no part of it. No.
[00:15:19] So I just crossed and thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, and then one day for no particular reason I was driving and thinking I stopped at a red light and it's not anything I saw or anything. It's just you're thinking that started picking up, I guess. It just hit me out of nowhere. We're chasing something to make money from, sell something, make something, do something. Oh, well, we're not finding any of that, but I don't know, it was this moment of clarity. I would call it. All we do is to translate that into money. It's all we do. It's what we all do. That's why we wake up in the morning and do that.
[00:15:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Right. Okay. So you're thinking like, okay, if I'm doing something like smuggling cocaine that I don't want to do, it's all to get money. So why not just go directly to the money?
[00:16:08] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, exactly. Why? Because it's the end result after all really.
[00:16:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:12] Frank Bourassa: A big chunk of what we wake up, right?
[00:16:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, so I can kind of follow that logic, right? Like you're thinking, "Okay, I got to do this thing for money. I was building or making auto parts. It was for money. I went to the hospital. I can't do that again. I needed to do something for money. Well, why don't I just literally make money?"
[00:16:30]Frank Bourassa: Yeah, exactly. So I'm standing at this red light and then I say, "Yeah, yeah, that makes a ton of sense." Now, at this second — well, I don't know anything about that. I've never been around printing, printers, or presses or any of that. So I know nothing about it, but I do know that if I need to figure it out, I will. It's still something you need to look into because — well, common knowledge is that they make it complicated for you to do that.
[00:16:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:56] Frank Bourassa: They don't want you to. So I say, "Well, I'm going to do a little bit of research to see what it implies.
[00:17:02] Jordan Harbinger: How many hours of research did it take you to figure out how to counterfeit US currency? If you had to guess, I assume you didn't track this anywhere, but if you had to guess.
[00:17:12] Frank Bourassa: I put it in years.
[00:17:16] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow. Okay.
[00:17:17] Frank Bourassa: It's really tricky because here's what people don't get for the most part. There's basically two ways you can go about it. You can say, "Well, I'm going to go the cheap route. We're going to get the printer," which is the wrong top of ink. And it works—
[00:17:33] Jordan Harbinger: Like my inkjet in the corner here, "I'm going to like try and print off a couple of 20s.
[00:17:37] Frank Bourassa: Exactly, exactly. Exactly. So, if you got inkjet printer, well, you just wet ink and it smears. So inkjet is not going to work. Laser, well, it cracks. If you fold it, it cracks. It doesn't work either. What it has right is the color, which is why, you know, they try to spend it at titty bars and stuff like that because it's f*cking dark
[00:17:55] Jordan Harbinger: Dark in there. Yeah, exactly.
[00:17:57] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. So that's their MO. So you can either go that way. So you have the wrong type of ink and everything and then, the wrong type of paper. And then, well, you need to find a way to spend it in dark alleyways or something because otherwise, you know, it's not going to fly also. I said, "Well, that's no good for me."
[00:18:15] Jordan Harbinger: That's not big money, right? That's like when you counterfeit 10 grand.
[00:18:18] Frank Bourassa: Exactly, exactly. Then you have to hustle with that and trying to find new places, new dark places all the time, it's not going to be — no, no, this is not rewarding, psychologically, mentally. It's just for the money part. And it's not even there, so there's nothing in it for me.
[00:18:34] Jordan Harbinger: Right, it's like high risk, low reward, no intellectual challenge for you.
[00:18:40] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. You have to remember, none of us had a steady stream of income at a time. You need to find something. So this was high on the list. So if we're going to do that, if it's going to be risky. Well, it needs to be worthwhile. So this wasn't worthwhile for me, for sure. So I said, "Well, it's not going to be that, then what do I want? Well, it's going to need to be perfect because perfect, you can spend, go bake.
[00:19:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you can go bake. Okay. How did you start the process? Like where do you even look for this sort of information to figure out — okay, you don't Google how to counterfeit money. Well, maybe you did. I don't know, but it seems like you would.
[00:19:19] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. You do.
[00:19:20] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:19:20] Frank Bourassa: You do. I didn't know any more about it than you do? So I go to the computer and you type, US banknotes security features and counterfeiting, paper, that type of thing. And the funny thing about it, and it's totally true. If you do that, you got to hit the secret service website really, really soon. It just does and you're going to come across minting and printing really soon. So you go on to that. It was just public computers that I was working in Internet cafes and stuff like that. So I didn't mind venturing to that type of thing because I couldn't get located from that. And from there, well, they explain what banknotes are about. Well, you don't give everything. They give more than you know. Well, there's this and they're just 20 there, and then the serial numbers are special for this and the paper's special for that and that type of thing.
[00:20:10] So you come off of that knowing more than when you came in, so it's progress, right? So you go from there and then you start, well, all right, so these say special ink. So what was it? It said, well, it changes color. So you type, color ink that changes color. And they said, well, it's called color shifting. So, okay, so color shifting ink. So you figure out the different components like that. The paper, what type of paper? Well, it says this special blend. You keep at it for a bit, and then you go nowhere. You'll say, well, this one's going to be trickier, obviously. So I said, "Well, I'm going to have to put a lot of work into this. Ink is all right, I guess. And the polymers strip, I guess, is okay. And then you just cut it into its separate components if you will. So you need to type ink, different types of ink, the polymer strip, and then. Then there's a watermark that you know nothing about. Then how do I do that? Because you need to do that. Well, so you're looking into the watermark, how does that work? Who does that?
[00:21:10] And then once you've figured out all the parts that you need to make a hundred percent perfect, then you have your whole shopping list. Then you know the edges of everything that you need to do. Now, most of it, you still can't do anything about it because you don't have what it takes. You don't know where to get it, but you have your shopping list at least. And then you say, all right, so, you need to tackle the ink. So I need to find suppliers. So then you start looking to suppliers for every one of these individual components. Well, this is what you do, and you're going to have to find supply.
[00:21:45] Then you tackle all the paper. So if it needs to be right, well, the paper is a huge part of it. I tell you a ton of stuff goes into the paper and to make it every bit complicated as they can. I mean everything is not conventional, but the right one is out there, it's about 80 percent of this and 20 percent that it's kind of just a sum up of the composition of it. But you need to dig into it because the real banknotes, well, you can put this thing on the machines. Well, there's a reason why they do go into the machine and others don't. It is just not random stuff. So what does that, what causes that? You need to do that. You need to find out what it is, what was it about? So that type of thing, and it also needs to go in all accounting machines, all detectors, obviously. So the fake ones don't go and the real ones do. Well, there's a difference between the two? What is it? Why does one time — like you got to find out what it is. And then this will stir you to the very chemical composition of the real bank note paper.
[00:22:49] And so you got to find out the chemical properties, because once again, it's not random, this one will go. The other one, it's not going to go. So you got to research until you find the exact recipe. So you have the hard data on the chemical properties of it. And the thickness, because the bank note paper is made on purpose, obviously between two standard thicknesses. So I can either go — if you buy anything anywhere, this is a little too thin and this is a little too thick. So if you want to go pure and perfect and, you know, hit it big, well, you can't do that. You got to find somewhere, some way, somehow to have the right thickness. I need the recipes.
[00:23:35] Obviously, I'm going to have to do my own recipe because I'm not going to find it. You know, they're going to call Crane, Crane paper company, and say, "You know, can you spare a spool or something?" You know, this is not going to happen, right?
[00:23:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:23:47] Frank Bourassa: So you need to find a supplier for that.
[00:23:48] Jordan Harbinger: And you can't just call paper companies and go, "Hey, I need 80 percent paper, 20 percent linen paper," because what do you use that for? If not for currency, right? So like weren't they kind of like, "Hey man, what did you say this was for again?" You know, like were people suspicious?
[00:24:06] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, sure. There was some of that. But if you're going to tackle that type of operation while you need to have a street smart for it, at a minimum, at least. I don't think I had the minimum then, but I have to be aware of the basic security stuff, how it works, why, what you can do, what you can't do, and why, that type of thing.
[00:24:27] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Frank Bourassa. We'll be right back.
[00:24:32] This episode is sponsored in part by Mailman HQ. Do you get too many emails, bombarding you at all hours of the day? I used to as well. I'd get distracted. There's notifications popping up. I turned off the notifications thinking, problem solved. It's still distracting me. I still know they're in there. It's the deepest rabbit hole there ever is. And what's worse? You go to zero out your inbox. The new people's emails are coming in while you're answering those emails, and the stress is just compounding. Now, we use Mailman. Mailman, it allows me to control when I want to receive my emails. So you can say like 7:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. Then all the emails are collected and delivered to me in batches at those two times. Nothing in between. No more distractions. No pile up, calling my name between other tasks. What I like is that I can also screen incoming emails from first-time senders as well. So I have fewer spam and marketing emails come in. I'm more comfortable sharing my email address in public, which I've done before. Jordan@jordanharbinger.com, reach out to me anytime. Send your feedback on this episode directly to me. Why not? No matter how many emails I receive now, I'm not overwhelmed by my inbox. I can keep that thing at pretty much zero, which is a great feeling and keeps everything right on track.
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[00:26:51] And now back to Frank Bourassa on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:26:56] I figured you don't call and go, "Okay, I need 21 percent linen, 79 percent regular, and also it's got to be this non-standard thickness." You probably say, "Hey, I need like something along the lines of 70 percent, 30 percent. And they go, "Oh, okay." So it doesn't match exactly. And you sound like you're not looking for a too-specific of a thing and then maybe you order it instead of, "Yeah, this is Frank Bourassa and I live in Three Rivers—" I can't say it in French — "Canada," you know, you put in like a shell company and it's a stationery store, and you say, "Look, we're making our own cards, our own whatever, and it's got to be this kind of thickness. And I want it to be really durable and people are going to be using it for this, or we're making stock certificates." What do I know? But you have to get it like close enough that it would look and feel like real money. But not so close that the supplier of the paper goes, "There's a hundred percent chance this guy's counterfeiting money and we're just falling for it." Like it has to go over their head of the supplier. And then, it also has to go over the head of the person who's holding the note, right?
[00:27:59] Frank Bourassa: Yes. Yes, exactly. Well, you describe it pretty good actually. So the cover story is going to be your gateway in. If it works well, you're going to be able to talk to him and you got to have a conversation and be able to ask some questions and you have to make it work.
[00:28:15] Jordan Harbinger: You have to sound like a paper guy. You can't be like, "Hi, I need a certain kind of paper. I worked for a paper company and I don't know sh*t about paper or printing or ink." Because they'll be like—
[00:28:25] Frank Bourassa: Exactly.
[00:28:25] Jordan Harbinger: "You need this specific thing and you don't even know what tensile strength is or whatever, like get out of here, man.
[00:28:31] Frank Bourassa: Exactly. You got to factor that in. You're going to say — you can't be a hundred percent precise about it. Like you said, "Well, I need 71 percent this. I'd like 1.8 percent." You've got to do that. You can be this knowledgeable about what you want. You need be vague a little bit, but you need to know your sh*t and your cover story has to match that. So, you know, me what I did, the first ones which is — I didn't know it was going to end up being a paper mill. I thought there was a chance that it could be someone somewhere. You don't know where — would you know where to get that?
[00:29:05]Jordan Harbinger: I mean, no, of course not. I don't even know where to get any of that anything like this.
[00:29:08] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. But it was same for me. So you have to call them with the right cover story. And I said, "Well, I'm going to be a paper supplier, a small time paper supplier, but you know, specialty paper, supplier." And then I have this company and this client. You know he's asking me for something that I don't have on sale, but he is a good client. Then you want something — you explained, "I'm going to send you some of the specifics that he wants. You need to tell me if it rings a bell to you. If it's something you have, you can have, you cannot, you know, whatever it is. I'm going to send it to you. You'll let me know." And then I send it to them and then I go close, but not too close. And then I'd go, if there was, let's say 20 criteria — well, you feed him four or five and see how that flows. "Well, it needs to be something like that." Then he's talking about something, "Watermarks. Is that stuff that you do?" because you're going to have to have it done, right?
[00:30:02] "You do watermark?" And then he says, "Yeah, we have 10 models that you can change. You can choose from." "Could you do custom?" "Well, no, we can't." So, now, I just want to get to work. And some of them say, "Yeah, yeah, sure. We can do that. But this is going to cost." "How much?" They tell you. So now you're making progress, you know how much this cost and that.
[00:30:22] Jordan Harbinger: Watermarks got to be tricky, right? Because like you did $20 bills. So you don't say, "Hey, I need an Andrew Jackson watermark." What do you say? Like, "Oh, I'm going to put my Uncle Jordan on this bill. And here's what he looks like." And then the guys from — you just hope they don't know what Andrew Jackson looks like.
[00:30:37] Frank Bourassa: No, but if you think about it, there's a bunch of different ways where they don't know what it's about. And there's a reason why I ended up sourcing someone in Germany. Well, it could have been any number of different countries, most definitely like Canada or US, or not here because everybody knows what it is, what it looks like, what it's about. But if you go farther away, well, you don't know what's in Iraq money. You don't know the watermark. You don't know any of those. You know like one or maybe two countries. They probably don't even know what's on ours, in Canada.
[00:31:08] Jordan Harbinger: No, idea. I have no idea what's on Canadian money.
[00:31:11] Frank Bourassa: Exactly.
[00:31:12]Jordan Harbinger: I guarantee you that I would barely skate by looking at each United States bill and being like—
[00:31:18] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, yeah.
[00:31:18] Jordan Harbinger: —who is that again?
[00:31:19] Frank Bourassa: Sure.
[00:31:20] Jordan Harbinger: You know, but I've seen the bills enough where I know that one is like one's Ronald McDonald's, it's not Andrew Hamilton or whatever.
[00:31:26] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, exactly.
[00:31:27] Jordan Harbinger: But if I look at Canadian—
[00:31:28] Frank Bourassa: Exactly.
[00:31:28] Jordan Harbinger: But I got to tell you the only money I would be like, I'm sure that I know what I'm looking at is probably going to be like North Korea because it probably all has like Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung on the front of it.
[00:31:37] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, yeah.
[00:31:38] Jordan Harbinger: And the United States, because we have that green money, that's probably real easy, but anything else. When I first saw euros, the new ones, I was like, "These are real? They're plastic." You know, they curl up where they got holograms all over them.
[00:31:49] Frank Bourassa: Yeah.
[00:31:50]Jordan Harbinger: I'm curious though. Why did you choose to make $20 bills instead of $50 or $100 bills? Because theoretically, a hundred dollar bill is worth five times as much. Is it like a 20s are just so low that nobody draws on them? No one's holding the 20 up to the light. Is that the logic here?
[00:32:07] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, that's really it. Because the hardest part, it's like doing anything else, any trades, anything, any job, doing it good is somewhat easy. Doing a good a hundred percent of the time and never failing this is stuff, even just us walking, you know, sometimes we do miss a step, you know, every year, eight years, 10 years, you know, and we just, I don't know, just something I was falling a crack or something and just, we just tear something from time to time. You know, we're good at walking. We were practicing plenty. And even that, we screw up sometimes. Well, when we tackle a project like that, if you screw up one place, even if you've been good 4,000 times for four years, it's not going to matter. The outcome is still going to be the same. You're going to get caught, you're going to get arrested. And then, you know, it can turn nasty.
[00:32:58] You need to avoid that a hundred percent of the time. So why would you want someone risking pulling up your notes and looking at it? They will scrutinize more 50 than a 20, obviously. Nobody looks twice at a 20 because just what we use. And this is what you want. You want to be invisible. You don't want anything of it showing. You don't want to bring attention to you nor to your future clients, because they need to be able to spend it. So the more invisible, the better. This is why it needs to be.
[00:33:30] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense. Look, I don't know anything about counterfeiting other than what you've told me here, but counterfeiting to me seems like it would be really easy to make bad counterfeit bills, but it would be extremely difficult to make good counterfeit bills, right? Like you either have really crappy ones where people go, "All right. I mean, I guess it looks like a bill, but it's like, the ink is too dark. The paper's too thin. It's like it shreds too easily. I can tear really easily. It's a little bit blurry." But then the good ones are like a hundred times harder to make, right? They're not twice as hard to make. They're not five times harder. They're a hundred times harder to make. So everybody like 99 percent fakes are somewhere in the bottom bit. The first part of the spectrum where you just go, "Okay. In the dark at a strip club, it's a real five-dollar bill or a real hundred-dollar bill." But as soon as somebody busts out the marker or looks at it in the light, you just go, "This is garbage. Like, what the hell is this?" But you're talking about like, you wanted it to be, you knew the risk was high. So you went, "Okay. We're not screwing around with any of this crap. We're either going really, really high end or we're not doing this because I don't want to go to prison for 50 years for making 50 grand."
[00:34:43] Frank Bourassa: Exactly. And certainly this is a big part of it, but it costs me the set up because you have to build the full-pledge print shop for everything that it implies. So it cost me 320, which was every penny I had left.
[00:34:56] Jordan Harbinger: $320,000?
[00:34:58] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, I didn't have a penny left. So I was gambling, everything I have on it. So if I get caught for any reason, well, I'm going to go to jail. I'm going to lose it. It's horrible. You don't want to do that. You really don't.
[00:35:10] Jordan Harbinger: Right, and then good luck, good luck selling that sh*t on eBay. Like who needs an offset printer? Like no, no one, right?
[00:35:17] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, exactly. So you say, well, if I don't want it that way, so I'm going to — you have a lot to lose, your liberty and all I had, like I said, money-wise. So if you want to go with it right, well, you need printing presses. I don't know anything about printing presses any more than you do. So how do we print press? I'm going to have to buy one. What's a good one? What's a bad one? Well, they sell used one. Well, anything used, you you'll have to check it out. You have to — well, what do I know if it's good or if it's not good. I have no clue. You wouldn't. Nope.
[00:35:52] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. Who's going to know that?
[00:35:53] Frank Bourassa: Who's going to know that? It makes a ton of difference. So you have to find someone who can actually inspect those. You got to to find where to sell some of those, you got to find someone who can inspect those. And once again, make a cover story where you know, he's going to come with you without knowing who you are. You're getting to match up with other people who're going to send for you so that it doesn't lead to you. Then it starts right there already. And until you find a good one and — I'm really summarizing here because it's so complicated.
[00:36:23] Like for me, I had 14 presses inspected before he said, "Well, this one, yeah, this one, this one is f*cking good. This one is perfect. This one works." "Good. So we got this one." And when we got this one, he said, "Well, you just need to rebuild it and then it's going to be perfect."
[00:36:41] Jordan Harbinger: Just rebuild it.
[00:36:42] Frank Bourassa: Yeah.
[00:36:43] Jordan Harbinger: Just rebuild it. No problem. Right?
[00:36:45] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. So you think about bearings and roads and this. But why did you buy that? I don't know. So now you need mechanics because you want it pristine. Just you want it turned up. You know all presses are really old, unless you buy new ones, but it costs you like one million just for the press.
[00:36:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. They don't make them. They don't just have these in the Amazon warehouse. Like these are made to order presses, I assume because no one's buying these.
[00:37:07] Frank Bourassa: No, they weigh like 40,000 pounds. They're industrial presses.
[00:37:12] Jordan Harbinger: That's wild.
[00:37:13] Frank Bourassa: And then, after you've done all this. You still have little details when you need to operate them. You're going to call Bob and say, "Hey, Bob, do you want to come and print money for me?" Do you tell anyone? You know, what's the upside of Bob knowing about it. You don't want that.
[00:37:29] Jordan Harbinger: Well, we'll get there in a second. I'm curious how you pick your crew, but I'll get there in a second. First. I want to know when you were making all these calls and you're trying to get this to work and trying to get that to work. And you're trying to get the paper and you're trying to get the watermark and you're trying to get the press. When your equipment and paper finally arrive, and you're looking at these sheets of paper and they feel like fresh money, what were you feeling in that moment? Like when you're like you bring it back to what your garage and you're just like, "Holy sh*t, I've got a sheet of blank money, essentially, or money to be.
[00:38:05] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. Money to be, it was a print shop that I built on a farm building. You know, everything's complicated. You don't want it to lead to you or any of that because any f*ck up, it's always the same deal. You end up locked up which you don't want, you're trying to avoid that, right? So, the print shop was built in a farm building. And so you have to build all of that. You have to send equipment over there. And so this is where I had the — we're skipping over a lot. But when the paper got here, this is when it was sent an outlays. And when it was sent, while the paper comes in, it's got a bunch of security features and a lot of them are embedded in the paper already. Plus the fact that the composition itself is very specific. So this is done. The security features that need to be in it, chemical properties, all that watermarks already in there. So you have a big chunk of what's important, already done, already made, and then you bring it in. When I did bring it in and then I slammed the door shut, I was confident enough that everything I did up to that I hadn't done any mistakes. So I was good to go. I had like 12 pallets of papers.
[00:39:14] Jordan Harbinger: 12 pallets of paper. Do you have any idea how many sheets of paper that was by any chance?
[00:39:19] Frank Bourassa: You have to divide 250 million by $80. And then, that will give you—
[00:39:25]Jordan Harbinger: I'll do that right now. Okay. So hold on one second, 250 million divided by $80, 3.125 million. Does that sound right?
[00:39:35] Frank Bourassa: Yes.
[00:39:36] Jordan Harbinger: Well, that's how many notes you had.
[00:39:38] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. So it'd be 300 million. So that works because it was 80. So three million at 80, it's 240 million. So yeah, it was right about that. There was a ton.
[00:39:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, literally. Right. I mean, I assume they shipped this in — this isn't coming via UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post.
[00:39:55] Frank Bourassa: No, no, no. This is cargo, cargo ship.
[00:39:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, this is a big metal container coming from — I don't know. Where did you order? From Germany or something like Switzerland or something like that.
[00:40:03] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, Germany.
[00:40:04] Jordan Harbinger: So when you went to pick that up and you looked at that, like, what were you feeling? You must've been f*cking stoked, man. Because you knew you were going to put $20 bills all over all of that and then just never work again.
[00:40:17] Frank Bourassa: Yes. Yes. When it arrived here, I wasn't the one — I sent someone to pick it up. It was his job. It was what he was paid for.
[00:40:26] Jordan Harbinger: Like a runner or something.
[00:40:28] Frank Bourassa: It was his task. This guy was selected for it. So he went over there. And then, you know, we left from the port and then it was all set up, that I had planned to make sure when followed or tracked and all that. Because pallets can be rigged, plant bug in there, GPS trackers, you don't know. There's certainly not going to tell you, so you need to every step of the way — so I had the truck drive off the port and then — you can be followed, so you got to try to block that.
[00:40:59] So I had another one of my guys following with a separate car and I had picked up this specific route and going into — it was an entrance to the highway where it narrowed down to one lane that I had picked that place specifically for it. Then the next guy is where my guy was following with a car. And his job was to stall the car there for 15 minutes, 20 minutes.
[00:41:23] Jordan Harbinger: By just turning off his car in the middle of the one lane, bottleneck?
[00:41:26] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, like it stalled, like it broke on you, so it's just a one lane thing. So then the truck can leave, and anyone who might've been following, you don't know. Well, they can't because of the f*cking block. So that get rid of any possible someone following — so you have left, helicopters and electronic surveillance, which you need to tackle. So helicopters, you kind of look up and you'd like to think you paid attention enough. You look, you say, "Well, I'm not seeing anything. Are you?" "No, I'm not." So you keep really looking for that. And then, there's still the electronic surveillance. And so if there's a bug in it, you need to address that. So I had it sent to a parking lot and then it stood there for three days. And then we just kept surveillance on it, just in case, you know, to see if someone would come and sneak around. Not that he would, but you just think, well, if it's sitting there, we'll just keep our eyes on it for three days. And then nothing happens.
[00:42:20] So from there, after my guy went back and got the same truck, he drove from there to a separate parking lot, which was closer to my city here. We did the same thing. And we didn't see anything that would stand out. So everything seemed good. And so I got another truck who came in and they back, back to back with new pallets in itself. All the boxes were all opened. Every one of them to see if there were any trackers or bugs into it. And all the pallets were left in that truck. And all the boxes were transferred on new pallets in the new truck. Because you know, they could haul out and put up to, you don't, so it takes suddenly that. We transferred everything, put in a separate truck. And then from there, he drove directly to my print shop.
[00:43:08] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Frank Bourassa. We'll be right back.
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[00:46:53] Now back to our conversation with Frank Bourassa.
[00:46:57] That's some spy sh*t, man, like new pallets, parked the truck, surveilled the truck, then parked the truck again, surveilled the truck again. There must've been a part of you, that's thinking, "Okay. They might know like 50/50, or I don't know, 80/20 chance that they know that this is going to be misused or they're not even sure it's going to be misused, but they're suspicious so maybe they'll just take a look at it." And then once they see you sort of doing counter-surveillance, they're going to know. You can't just not do counter-surveillance. You have to, so you have to do it so well that if they are surveilling you, then you can bug out. What was the plan if you found like a little electronic device in a pallet or they were following you? Like, were you just going to ditch the truck? Did you have a backup plan to say like, "No, I'm making greeting cards for old ladies, birthdays"? You know, did you have something that you were going to fall back on?
[00:47:47] Frank Bourassa: No, because if you get suspected in any way, you're done. You can tell them whatever you want. They're not dummies. I mean, the authorities who investigate you for that, this is as high as it goes. It's top of the line. So you can tell them all they want, but then, they're not moron.
[00:48:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right. But then at that point you haven't really committed any crime, right? Like you haven't made any fake money. You can just say, "Nah I ordered some stuff. I'll take probation."
[00:48:13] Frank Bourassa: Yes.
[00:48:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:14] Frank Bourassa: At that point, I'm sure. I'm sure you don't have to, nothing would happen to you. That's not money yet.
[00:48:20] You're still f*cked. There's still nothing you can do with it. You're going to have to go back to it at one point. So by the time you figure out this bug to it, well, you know, there's surveillance on it. So they're somewhere. They're looking at you. They know who you are, you're done. That's the end of you. So you can't do that. Wherever you're going to go, they're going to follow you and then that's it, you're done.
[00:48:39] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense. So you didn't run the operation alone obviously, but how did you know who you could trust? Do you know there's different jobs from what it sounds like in the business. You're the designer, maybe the printer, there's runners. You got to have a larger crew to move the bills around. How did you know who to trust? How did you pick your crew?
[00:48:57] Frank Bourassa: Well, I was all people that I knew from other stuff that I dealt with when I was younger. So people I knew who were doing illegal businesses. The friends that I mentioned earlier and I know them a long time. And whenever you do any type of that stuff, well, you're going to get arrested from time to time, for whatever reason. And you see what happens when any of them do get arrested, you see how they handle that. Do they rat you out? Did they rat anyone out? How did they go about it? And so my people, my crew, are the people that I knew for a long time, and they've all been in this system one way or another. They're solid. We all know one another.
[00:49:43] It's hard to explain shortly, but you need to isolate yourself as much as possible. This is why you try to do, you know, the likelihood of getting caught is high because this is not a grocery store. So by design, there are people specifically looking for you all the time. This is all they do. They try to stop people like you. This is the game. So you have to know that going in. So you have to insulate yourself from any operation that's happening. So if you want to rent cars because you can't drive anywhere with your own cars because the camera's everywhere in the highways, in overpasses. There are cameras everywhere. So you have to rent a car as well.
[00:50:26] And in those businesses, there are cameras too. So you have to send someone. But if you've sent someone, that someone knows it's you who sent him. Well, if anything happens, they can rat you out because most people, this is what they do. So the guy doing actual renting for a car, for example, which happens hundreds of times, he cannot know where it's going, who it's for. He cannot know. So I had my close circles with my people, my friends. People that I rely on. I paid them because I trust their judgment. They're my people. So I was paying them to hire somebody that they deemed trustworthy, and then they hired him. And then his job is to hire yet another guy, a third guy, And this third guy is going to go do the actual renting.
[00:51:11] So he knows who hired him because it's the one up from him and he knows he needs to go buy a car under a different name and this and that. So he's over there. He's not doing anything illegal. He's just renting a car, but he's over there. You know, there's a camera so if something were to happen with the car while they might come knock on your door, which is why you're paying X for that job. So if you're in, good. If you're not in, it's all right. So it's like, no, no. Sure, sure, sure. So if he gets busted for anything or something happens to the car and then they take the license plate, and then this leads to the rental place. Well, they're going to check out who rented this. This is going to be this dude. So even if he tries to rat you out, the only one you can give is the one step up.
[00:51:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:51:56] Frank Bourassa: This dude didn't do anything. So it's unlikely, he's going to rat you out. Even if he does, the only one he can, you can give up is my guy, my close guy. He didn't do sh*t and he's solid. So it cannot go all the way up to me.
[00:52:11] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense.
[00:52:12] Frank Bourassa: Which is why you try to do, you try to keep it like that. Yeah. So everything I did, I did it like that, the three-tier thing for everything. So the mechanics for the press was the same thing. Everything was that way, everything. So you have to have a constant flow of guys who do tiny parts as little as possible. You don't need to tell them the real stuff because you need to be legit with people. Because if you're not, well if you're trying to f*ck them, something happens, he's going to try to f*ck you for sure. He can't do that.
[00:52:42] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:52:43] Frank Bourassa: So you can keep one for a little bit, but if you keep him for too long while if anything happens, well, he knows a lot, so he can screw up the whole thing. So you keep them for one up. He's going to do car rental. So you can have them do a number of them, like 10, 20 times. And then, you know, that's it, that's enough for you.
[00:53:02] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:53:02] Frank Bourassa: You get a new one, you get like that for everything. So, you know, it's just a little bit.
[00:53:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So all anyone can say is I rented like 10 cars for this guy who then knows this guy who then knows, Frank, but that's all I got. I just rented a car, 10 times. I don't know what they did with the car. And he doesn't know you. And he doesn't know the guy next to you.
[00:53:23] Frank Bourassa: He doesn't know who knows you? No, no, no, no. I know every time I need to know everyone down to the last dude, when the last guy tells me, "Well, I'm going to hire this dude." I'm going to look him up to see that I feel good about him. I know everyone who knows everything. I know everything about everything a hundred percent of the time, but the reverse is totally not the case. Only thing he knows is who hired him and what he was paid to do. He doesn't know who it's for. He doesn't who's above him. So he knows one guy, the one who hired him and he knows he needs to rent a car. So all he can say is, "Well, I rented cars here 20 times." If he wants to rat out, "Well, this dude sent me. That's it." He just said what he knows.
[00:54:05] Jordan Harbinger: The connection to you is basically zero.
[00:54:07] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. This is just really what you try to maintain all the time. If you do—
[00:54:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:54:13] Frank Bourassa: —well, the better your chances, obviously.
[00:54:15] Jordan Harbinger: How long does it take to print $250 million?
[00:54:19] Frank Bourassa: Five months.
[00:54:20] Jordan Harbinger: Five months. Like nonstop working five months basically.
[00:54:24] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:54:25] Jordan Harbinger: What were your hours like? Were you working like—? I assume when you're printing that much money, you're probably working every waking moment of your life at that point.
[00:54:34] Frank Bourassa: We'd work at night. You want to be invisible. So we'd go in after everyone stopped working. So it's dark out. Nights is a constant because you're less visible obviously, so you don't want to be visible. So anywhere you go, it's better at night, so you try to do as much as possible during nights. So we go in when it was getting dark and then we stop working just before it was a daybreak. And then we leave. So it was like that every day.
[00:55:05] Jordan Harbinger: It's like 12 hours a day or so?
[00:55:08] Frank Bourassa: Maybe 10.
[00:55:09] Jordan Harbinger: 10. Okay. Because it's a long time. I'm thinking even if this machine is just spitting money out and you're refilling it with ink and all that stuff here and there, 250 million, that's a lot in $20 bills. That's a lot of $20 bills.
[00:55:21] Frank Bourassa: Yeah.
[00:55:21] Jordan Harbinger: And so I did some nerd math here, right? $1 million in $20 bills. It's about 50 kilos or about, I don't know, like 120 pounds. Okay. So $250 million is 12,500 kilos or an unbelievable 27,557 pounds. That doesn't even mean anything to me because that number is so huge. So that is over eight Toyota Camrys or six Ford F150s. So that is multiple metric sh*t tons of cash.
[00:55:56] Frank Bourassa: Yeah.
[00:55:57] Jordan Harbinger: Where do you even put all that? I mean, even if you have a walk-in closet, it's not in the walk-in closet, like this is a truckload of cash, literally.
[00:56:08] Frank Bourassa: Yeah. You know, this is what you're going to have to protect just because it's your product that you have to sell, but also anyone investigating you. Because at some point it's likely that for whatever reason, something's got to go down. Any client you sell it to, they might get busted for any number of reasons. You don't know all along what's happening. Once it's out of your hand, you're not controlling it. From the time you saw that first one, an investigation could start right then and there. So I printed everything before I even sold the first one, because if you don't sell anything, you're not at risk, you haven't done anything. By the time you sell the first one, you might end up being, like end up being for me, and like undercover agent somewhere, somehow. So I printed everything and then I started selling. And you know whatever investigation may start, what they're going to want is the money and where you made it. They get those two things, this the end of you? You're going to be sitting next to El Chapo somewhere. That's it, you're done?
[00:57:14] What I did? I got into my printing shop. The money stayed there and I had to get some of it out. Because when it's time for clients, so you want to split it. So if anything happens, well, just that part. You know, if you're lucky, you'll only be left part of it. Operation is going to get busted and maybe you can keep going with the rest. So this is what you hope for, right? So I split it into five different stashes. So you get a bit of it out and then you got runners and then each of the runners they know about one place. So you minimize the risk of you getting anything horrible happening because it's just one-fifth of whatever you got out.
[00:57:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:57:51] Frank Bourassa: The rest is not moving. You don't want to drive around with it. You don't do anything because anything happened, they get the money. That's the end of you. You need to protect yourself from it. So I left it right there at the shop. It didn't move from there at all.
[00:58:07] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. What kind of lock is on that container? That has like 50, 100, 250 million bucks in it?
[00:58:14] Frank Bourassa: Well, it wasn't in a container. It was my print shop.
[00:58:18] Jordan Harbinger: It was just sitting there. Like, I'm trying to envision this. This is just like you go to the bathroom and you're like, "Oh no, no, no, no, no. Don't use that bathroom." That's Florida ceiling $20 bill. Go to the other one upstairs."
[00:58:30] Frank Bourassa: The paper came in boxes. What we did? We've put them back in boxes and then we stuck them up on pallets and we just pallets of boxes, the pallets were full of cash.
[00:58:40] Jordan Harbinger: Have you ever seen the movie Blow? There was the Blow with Johnny Depp.
[00:58:43] Frank Bourassa: Yeah.
[00:58:43] Jordan Harbinger: The guys are like carrying the box and he's like, "Where do I put this?" And he's like, "Back there." And he's like, "There's no room back here." He's like, "No, no, no, no. Back there, back there." And he's like, "Ah," he's like stepping over everything and he's putting down this giant banker's box full of money. And it's all stacked up. And you just think like, "How much freaking money is that?" It was like $60 million and you had like five times or four times that much money.
[00:59:04] Frank Bourassa: Yeah.
[00:59:05] Jordan Harbinger: It's a sh*t load of money.
[00:59:07] Frank Bourassa: It is true that there are weird situations that do have — in fact you print everything and the presses will spew up money of sheet in a second.
[00:59:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow. That's so fast.
[00:59:21] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's all it does. It's industrial equipment. It's what's meant to do. It will replicate it perfectly every time with pixel on pixel. It does a great job. That's what you want, right? But it just stacks it up on trolleys and then you have to empty them and put fresh new ones because it'll just be printing. Then you need a lot of finishing to be done, need to add other stuff in serial numbers. Then it needs to be cut and then it needs to be counted. So you need to have rows of counting machines, but even counting machines — I don't know if you ever used any of them but, well, it screws up. You just put a little stack of 2000, you put it in there, it jams quite a bit of time.
[00:59:59] Jordan Harbinger: This is such a funny high-quality problem, right? Like you're like, "Ah, my machines that I'm putting thousands of dollars in, they're jamming. And it's like, it says it's $1,900, but it's $2,000. What a hassle?" And you got these like stacks, they're as tall as you. And you're like, "I got print serial numbers on these things and I got to put the foil on or whatever." And you're just like, "Oh man, these weigh so much," as you're pushing like $300,000, you're like, "Oh my back kind of hurts." I'm just envisioning this ridiculous scenario, which you're like, "I'm tired," but you just made a million dollars, you know, more.
[01:00:33] Frank Bourassa: You know, work-wise, it's exactly what it looks like. This is not clubs and glory, and this and that.It's factory work.
[01:00:41] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:00:41] Frank Bourassa: Just grinding and it's all you're doing. And then you got hydraulic jiggers to move that around because it weighs a ton.
[01:00:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:00:47] Frank Bourassa: And then you say, "Well, I've got to cut this." So you have like three pallets worth to cut really precisely. So it's just cutting, cutting, cutting, cutting. It's cutting pallets after pallets. Then you've got to count the f*cking thing. So you got to split it into stacks and you just watch it counted and then you get a strap them because it needs to be bundled up.
[01:01:07] Jordan Harbinger: It's so funny.
[01:01:07] Frank Bourassa: So there's a lot of the actual, they kind of what they depicted in a movie where you say, well, you know, how much is there? How much does that weigh? You don't know until you weigh it. But there's times where you load up boxes and then oftentimes you lose count. You want to make boxes of one million. So you lose and say, "Damn, where are we at? Was it at 20? Was it at 40? F*ck!" So you need to f*cking turn it upside down and start again. So there's a lot of that b*tches but just by the nature of things, So, yeah, there's a lot of it. And then—
[01:01:40] Jordan Harbinger: Manual labor, man. It's funny. Because people think like, "Oh, if I had this job, it would never feel like work." And here's this guy printing like $1.3 million a night and you're just like, "Oh man, I need a vacation."
[01:01:56] Frank Bourassa: Yeah, exactly.
[01:01:57] Jordan Harbinger: "Man, I got to take a break. This is grueling."
[01:02:03] Frank Bourassa: Yes, it is. It is. Everything is automated. So if anything clogs up for whatever reason, one color f*cks up — all four colors are lined up. So it goes in white, comes out everything printed on. Any of the color f*cks up, well, it's going to keep on going—
[01:02:22] —so every f*ck up, all ended being bad. So you're constantly watching everything because you don't want that to happen. And then you know that there are a bunch of different things, they are electronic, they're like digital color readers because you have actual data on the color it needs to be. With the digital reader, as they come out and every quite often actually, you test the colors on it, every place, because you want to make sure that you don't need to tweak anything or else you want to begin off. So you're always doing that. It's just tedious work. It's just really grinding, grinding. And if you cut a quarter inch too short, and then you set up, then you just run it, well, you just trash it after that.
[01:03:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right. You ended up with a bunch of money that the right side of it's cut off or something and you can't do sh*t with that.
[01:03:12] Frank Bourassa: Exactly. So you've got to make sure because if you're running a whole lot through it, then it's just trash.
[01:03:16] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:03:17] Frank Bourassa: You're constantly watching, waiting, printing, feeding. So it's tedious work. It really is. But you got to put your head to it because it's going to cost you a lot if you don't.
[01:03:26] Jordan Harbinger: Did you listen to any music while you work? Because it seems like a project like printing a quarter of a billion dollars in counterfeit US currency needs some kind of a soundtrack. And I'm wondering if you guys played music or was everybody focused or was everybody listening to their own stuff? I'm just curious here. I would have to pass the time listening to something.
[01:03:44] Frank Bourassa: I do listen to music a ton, but when you're doing your printing, you can't do that because those machines are loud and you have a bunch of that work into it. Because after the printing press, you have other presses that you need to for — you need embossing, you need cutting, you need foiling. So those are all different. You got a bunch of presses running at the same time. So it's loud in there.
[01:04:04] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:04:05] Frank Bourassa: Plus you're focused. You're in really work modes and just pay attention, check, measure, double-check, verify. It's all you do. And then load unload, load, unload, refill ink. It's really factory work.
[01:04:23] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode. But before I get into that, Ray Dalio began investing at age 12 and now has over $160 billion under management at his company, Bridgewater Associates, the largest and best performing hedge fund in the world. It's no surprise that he's known as the Steve Jobs of investing. Here's a preview.
[01:04:42] I think now it's very clear that this is an event that has happened before, but not during our lifetime.
[01:04:48] Ray Dalio: Of course it is. The last one that happened was in 1918. And it happened right at the end of World War I. Today, how many pandemics, wars, depressions, revolutions, and so on have we been through and they happen over and over again for the same reasons? Three big things that are happening now that haven't happened in our lifetimes before, but happened in the 1930 to 45 period.
[01:05:18] First, a long-term debt cycle that turns to the point where Central Banks can no longer ease monetary policy. And so we're at the end of a long-term debt cycle in which there has to be a lot of printing of money, much like in March 1933. Two, there are wealth and opportunity gaps and values gaps, which are very large. And those are the sort of things that produce some form of revolutionary change. Three, there's a rising power that is comparable to the existing world power that is challenging it, the United States now with China.
[01:06:05] So when we look at the world, we have three big topics that we need to talk about, and they're very big and important to understand. The capacity of humans to adapt and change and do things is enormous. But the likelihood of being able to work in an intelligent cooperative way to do the right things would have to be considered a long shot.
[01:06:35] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Ray Dalio, including the predictable cycles that contribute to the rise and fall of great and once great nations on the world stage and where races these cycles heading now and how we should prepare ourselves for the less comfortable cycles we're bound to experience in the future, check out episode 389 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:06:55] All right. Y'all remember, this is a two-parter. This is the end of part one. Part two will be out in just a few days, probably already is depending on when you're listening to this. Links to everything we discussed on the show is always in the show notes. Worksheets in the show notes. Transcripts in the show notes. There's a video of the interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me on LinkedIn.
[01:07:16] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using the same systems, software, tiny habits that I use. That's our Six-Minute Networking course. It's a free course. I don't need your credit card. None of that crap. Just go to jordanharbinger.com/course, and learn how to dig the well before you get thirsty. Many of the guests on the show, subscribe to the course, and contribute to the course. So come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[01:07:38]This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My amazing team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's interested in true crime, counterfeiting, brilliant minds, share this episode with them. Hopefully, you find something great in every episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Please do share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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