Franchisor-fronted, franchise bar-controlled and franchise banker-enabled associations fit the sociological definition of Organized Crime

The rules are well-known and ruthlessly enforced in associations like the IFACFA, BFA, and FCA.

The price for defecting from the group is very high.

Organized Crime
Ashley Crossman

Definition: Organized crime is a social system distinguished by a complex structure resembling a formal organization rather than a loose-knit collection of criminals. Criminal organizations have a hierarchical power structure, a complex division of labor that includes a management system, a formal system for keeping records, and clearly articulated rules that everyone is expected to follow. As criminal organizations become more complex, so do the varieties of crime they engage in. Some criminal organizations are even organized as franchises, much like fast-food restaurants.

Source: About.com Guide

It is a lot more complex than a traditional Cosa Nostra model.

Closer, perhaps, to an international cyber crime organization, trading  in intellectual properties and industry best (worst?) practices (see Cyber-capos: How cybercriminals mirror the mafia and businesses).

It’s the behavior, not what you call it that matters.

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