Certificate in Organized Crime Prevention

Organized crime networks are billion-dollar industries with connections around the globe. Their activities may not be apparent to the general public – but they have a significant impact on the economy, our political environment and our society as a whole. In order to combat these activities, we need to better understand the strategies and signals that these networks employ.

The brand new Certificate in Organized Crime Prevention (COCP) program, offered by the Languages, Literatures, and Cultures department at Queen's University, delivers vital knowledge and skills to identify, analyze and mitigate criminal activity. This 5-day program is crucial for professionals working in any industry where criminal activity may infiltrate best practices or threaten security such as border control, law enforcement, government, counter-terrorism and intelligence, banking, investment and risk management, accounting, law, business, and more.

You will learn:

  • the scope of the impact of organized crime on a local, national and global scale
  • analytical skills and tools for identifying criminal network infiltration
  • legal strategies to detect and combat illegal activities
  • how organized crime organizations network and collaborate
  • how to take measures to deter criminal activities
  • the “cultural dimension” of organized crime

Program Benefits

  • Evidence-based tools and templates to use in your workplace
  • Training from leading academics, industry experts and guest speakers
  • Professional contacts and networking opportunities
  • Interactive learning through real-world case studies
  • Skills to train others

Deadline to register for program: Nov. 2

Duration: 5 days (15 hours)

Dates: November 5, 12, 19, 26, and Dec. 3, 2020. 1-4 pm EST each day. Please note that dates/times may change.

Delivery: Remote (online)

Note: Group rates are available. Please contact irc@queensu.ca for more information.

Deadline to register: November 2


DAY 1 - November 5, 2020 from 1-4 pm EST

Session 1: Introduction to Organized Crime in Canada
Expert: Antonio Nicaso

Session 2: The History of Organized Crime in Quebec
Expert: Nick Milano (Guest Speaker)

DAY 2 - November 12, 2020 from 1-4 pm EST

Session 1: Organized Crime in Ontario
Expert: Stephen Metelsky (Guest Speaker)

Case Study: Luigi Bonaventura, Former Mafia Boss (who is collaborating with Italian authorities)
Experts: Antonio Nicaso and Donato Santeramo

DAY 3 - November 19, 2020 from 1-4 pm EST

Session 1: Symbolism, Ritual and Communication
Expert: Donato Santeramo

Session 2: Cybercrime and Cryptocurrency
Expert: John Gorman (Guest Speaker)

DAY 4 - November 26, 2020 from 1-4:30 pm EST

Session 1: Blood Sports: Organized Crime in International Sport
Expert: Declan Hill (Guest Speaker)

Session 2: The Legislative Response to Fight Organized Crime in Canada: an Analysis of its Scope, Effectiveness and Limitations
Expert: Valentina Tenti (Guest Speaker)

Case Study: Infiltration in the Construction Industry and Governments
Expert: Valentina Tenti (Guest Speaker)

DAY 5 - December 3, 2020 from 1-4:00 pm EST

Session 1: Money Laundering
Expert: Mario Possamai (Guest Speaker)

Case Study: Money Laundering's Techniques and Shadow Alliances
Expert: Mario Possamai (Guest Speaker)

Closing Remarks with Antonio Nicaso and Donato Santeramo

Please note: Speakers and topics may change.


Expertise: Organized Crime

"Canada is a welcome wagon for organized crime"

Antonio Nicaso is a world-class expert on the subject of organized crime with more than 30 bestselling books to his credit. He is a regular consultant to governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world. He teaches social history of organized crime and Mafia in Popular Culture at Queen’s University. He is also a lecturer St., Jerome’s University, Waterloo, Ontario and the Associate Director of the Italian School of Middlebury College, in the United States and a member of the International Advisory Council of the Italian Institute of Strategic Studies Nicolò Machiavelli. One of his many books, Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War (2015) was adapted into a television series called Bad Blood, now available on Netflix worldwide.

Expertise: Signs and Crime

"Knowledge is the best tool that can be used for preventing organized crime"

Donato Santeramo is professor and head of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. He is cross- appointed to the School of Drama and Music and to the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies. He is also a member of the Graduate faculty at the University of Rome II. He has also taught in the CUNY/University of Calabria Diaspora Studies Summer Seminar and at The Middlebury College Summer School. He has published extensively on drama and literature and has co-edited, with Marcel Danesi, The Sign in Theory and Practice. Together with Manuela Bertone and Antonio Nicaso he co-edited ʺRhétorique et représentations de la culture mafieuse. Image, rituels, myths et symboles" Edition spécial : Cahiers de narratologie. He has been teaching, together with Nicaso “Mafia Culture and the Power of Symbols, Rituals and Myths” since 2016.

DECLAN HILL (Guest speaker)Declan Hill
Expertise: Organized Crime and Corruption in International Sport

Declan Hill is an associate professor of investigations at the University of New Haven.  He specializes in the study of organized crime and corruption specifically in international sport. His first book ‘The Fix: Organized crime and soccer’ transformed international sport. It has become a best-seller in twenty-one languages and is optioned in Hollywood.The Fix’ also won a number of awards and helped start more than thirty-four national police investigations. Hill has testified at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Interpol, the Council of Europe, and parliamentary committees at Westminster and the European parliament and a number of national sports federations and fan groups.  His second book, ‘The Insider’s Guide to Match-Fixing in Football’ was released in November 2013, and has already been published in Japanese and English.

Before his work in sports corruption, Hill was an investigative journalist and news presenter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).   Some of the stories he worked on were about the killing of the Head of the Canadian mafia, Honour Killings in Kurdistan, Blood Feuds in Kosovo, the murders of journalists in the Philippines, the links between the Russian Mafiya and top-level sports people and the Underground Railway to protect women in Iraq during the war and afterwards.

His work has also appeared in other media outlets including, PBS Frontline, BBC, The Sunday Telegraph, Der Spiegel, The Times (London), New York Times. He has won numerous awards for his work, including Amnesty International’s Best Human Rights Documentary, Play the Game (Denmark) and the Canadian Association of Journalists.

JOHN GORMAN (Guest speaker) John Gorman
Expertise: Cybercrime

Captain John Gorman joined the New Jersey State Police in 1995. Throughout his twenty-five-year career, he assumed increasing levels of accountability via promotion to lead the Division’s cyber and high-tech investigation and response mission. In his present role as Bureau Chief of the High Tech Crime Bureau, Captain Gorman oversees investigations and operations that respond to incidents where computers, digital networks, telecommunication devices, and other technological instruments are the vehicle or target of criminal acts.

In 2016, Captain Gorman completed a six-month fellowship with the FBI at the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) in Washington, D.C., where he participated in national endeavors to identify, pursue, and defeat cyber threats against the United States. In 2009, he received national recognition for his role as lead investigator in the first domain theft arrest in U.S. history. He has received numerous decorations for excellence in a criminal investigation.

Captain Gorman Chairs the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies (ASCIA) Cybercrime Committee. As Committee Chair, he brings meaningful and relevant progress to the U.S. national strategy on cyber response capability by developing interagency collaboration and fostering a mutual sharing of resources and ideas among law enforcement agencies in all 50 states.

MARIO POSSAMAI (Guest speaker)Mario Possamai
Expertise: Money Laundering

For nearly three decades, Mario Possamai has led and participated in complex money laundering, corruption and fraud investigations in Canada, the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean (Panama, Caymans, Bahamas and Dominica), Africa, Asia and Australia, and has assisted in the civil recovery of millions of dollars in stolen assets.

A lecturer in the RCMP’s money laundering expert witness program (2001), Mario was retained as a money laundering expert by the Government of Canada in Federation of Law Societies of Canada v. Attorney General of Canada (2010), and was the lead prosecution witness in the successful prosecution of a major cyber crime money laundering case in Singapore (2016). From 2011 until his retirement in 2018, Mario was Director of Enterprise Intelligence for a major Canadian bank, spearheading its efforts to develop actionable strategic and tactical intelligence into new and emerging fraud, money laundering, and cyber threats.  Mario was also the Departmental Anti-Money Laundering Officer (DAMLO) for the bank's elite internal investigative function, responsible for its AML training and compliance.

Through his involvement with the FBI-affiliated NCFTA, the Amsterdam-based International Bank Security Association (IBSA) and the American Society for Industrial Society (ASIS), Mario has liaised and promoted private-public partnerships with leading law enforcement agencies in North America, Europe and Asia, especially in the areas of cyber crime and asset recovery.  In this regard, in 2014-16, he supported the FBI’s efforts to establish its highly successful R.A.T. international cyber crime asset recovery program.

For 10 years, Mario was a guest lecturer in money laundering at the Financial Fraud Institute at FLETC, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) main law enforcement training centre in Glynco, Ga., which is used by many U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the CIA (Office of Investigations), the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of State - Diplomatic Security Service, FINCEN, etc. 

Mario is the author of Money On The Run, a history of money laundering in Canada (1992); the co-author of Fraud Prevention and Detection: Warning Signs and the Red Flag System (2014); and the author of a threat assessment on organized crime and cargo theft jointly published the American Society for Industrial Security and the U.S. National Cargo Security Council (2001).

NICK MILANO (Guest speaker)
Expertise: Organized Crime in Quebec

Nicodemo Milano retired this December after serving 25 years with the Service de police de la ville de Montreal. He began his career in 1994; year that the Hells Angels and Rock Machine outlaw bikers began a 7 year conflict for the control of drug distribution in Quebec. He became a detective at the organized crime Division in 2000 and was author of the first part 6 warrant (electronic surveillance) under the new antigang legislation, targeting the Bandidos thus ending the biker war. During his assignment at this unit, he worked undercover in 11 specialized drug investigations (reverse sting operations), he was embedded for months at the Montreal casino in order to identify and enforce the money lending organizations and worked with US Customs and the RCMP in an international cocaine importation file.

Nick and his partner Pietro Poletti assisted the FBI in Canada to indict the head of the Italian organized crime group in Montreal, Victor 'Vito' Rizzuto. He was promoted to detective-sergent and was assigned to a specialized joint agency taskforce investigating outlaw bikers in Quebec.

After having supervised a drug enforcement team, his agency seconded him to the public inquiry investigating the links between organized crime and the allotment of public funds in the construction industry; known as 'la commission Charbonneau'. He was able to meet high ranking members of different criminal organizations, unions, bankers, lawyers and politicians. Following this assignment, he spent his last five years managing the provincial biker enforcement unit, the organized crime division of his agency and a community police station situated in the east end of Montreal.

STEPHEN G. METELSKY (Guest speaker) Stephen Metelsky
Expertise: Investigations and risk management

Stephen Metelsky, M.A., is a criminal psychology professor at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. He is also the chair of the justice studies program advisory committee for all justice-related programs. 

Stephen was a police sergeant for 21 years with the Halton Regional Police Service. He finished his policing career with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit [CFSEU] of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP] before retiring in 2017. Stephen specialized in traditional organized crime, informant/agent development and undercover operations.

Stephen is a cold case columnist with Blue Line magazine – a Canadian subscription geared towards front-line policing. He has also covered true and organized crime stories for various newspapers affiliated with Metroland Media Group & Postmedia Network Incorporated.

Stephen is a regular consultant with the media (CBC, Global News, the Hamilton Spectator) about true and organized crime. 

Valentina Tenti (Guest speaker) Valentina Tenti
Expertise: Criminology and law

Valentina Tenti (Ph.D. in criminology and lawyer) has been working for over 10 years as a researcher on organized crime, economic crime and money laundering issues. She began her career as a researcher at Transcrime, Università Cattolica (Milan). She completed her Postdoctoral fellowships program at the International Centre for Comparative Criminology (ICCC), Université de Montréal (Montreal). Her work focuses on applied research in criminology, assessment of corruption, money-laundering and organized crime control strategies, development of crime-risk assessment models and criminal network analysis. In 2012, she testified as an expert witness on organized crime before the Governmental Inquiry Commission on the awarding and management of public contracts in the construction industry that reported on collusion, corruption and infiltration of organized crime in the construction industry in Quebec. As a lawyer, she specializes in civil and administrative law working on cases of fraud and corruption occurring in public procurements. She is member of the eCrimeresearch group and founding member of the academic start-up Intelligit – Turning science into intelligence. Valentina lives and works in Canada.



Our November/December 2020 program is now full. Please email irc@queensu.ca if you would like to be notified about when the next offering is taking place.