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A fence, also known as a receiver, mover, or moving man, is an individual who knowingly buys stolen goods in order to later resell them for profit. The fence acts as a middleman between thieves and the eventual buyers of stolen goods who may not be aware that the goods are stolen. As a verb, the word describes the behaviour of the thief in the transaction: The burglar fenced the stolen radio. This sense of the term came from thieves' slang, first attested c. 1700, from the notion of such transactions providing a defence against being caught. The term remains in common use in all major dialects of modern English, all of which spell it with a "c" even though the source word in some dialects (particularly American English) is now spelled defense.

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  • Fence (criminal)
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  • A fence, also known as a receiver, mover, or moving man, is an individual who knowingly buys stolen goods in order to later resell them for profit. The fence acts as a middleman between thieves and the eventual buyers of stolen goods who may not be aware that the goods are stolen. As a verb, the word describes the behaviour of the thief in the transaction: The burglar fenced the stolen radio. This sense of the term came from thieves' slang, first attested c. 1700, from the notion of such transactions providing a defence against being caught. The term remains in common use in all major dialects of modern English, all of which spell it with a "c" even though the source word in some dialects (particularly American English) is now spelled defense.
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date
  • November 2019
reason
  • similar to banditries
has abstract
  • A fence, also known as a receiver, mover, or moving man, is an individual who knowingly buys stolen goods in order to later resell them for profit. The fence acts as a middleman between thieves and the eventual buyers of stolen goods who may not be aware that the goods are stolen. As a verb, the word describes the behaviour of the thief in the transaction: The burglar fenced the stolen radio. This sense of the term came from thieves' slang, first attested c. 1700, from the notion of such transactions providing a defence against being caught. The term remains in common use in all major dialects of modern English, all of which spell it with a "c" even though the source word in some dialects (particularly American English) is now spelled defense. The thief who patronises the fence is willing to accept a low profit margin in order to reduce his risks by instantly "washing his hands" of the black market loot and disassociating from the criminal act that procured it. After the sale, the fence recoups his investment by disguising the stolen nature of the goods (via methods such as repackaging and altering/effacing serial numbers) and reselling the goods as near to the white market price as possible without drawing suspicion. This process often relies on a legal business (such as a pawnshop, flea market or street vendor) in order to "launder" the stolen goods by intermixing them with legally-purchased items of the same type. The fence is able to make a profit with stolen merchandise because he is able to secretly pay thieves a very low price for "hot" goods that cannot be easily sold on the open markets. Fencing is illegal in all countries, but legally proving a violation of anti-fencing laws can be difficult.
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