One "quick and dirty" method of raising cash that has been attributed to some survivalist and militia groups has been bank robbery. It had been a fairly popular fundraising method used in the 1970s and early 1980s pioneered in the modern form by offshoots of organizations like the Black Panthers and Weather Underground. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, a number of right wing groups got into the game. It was one crew which likely included OKC bomber Tim McVeigh that had been involved in bank robberies for fundraising for as many as two years.
The crew had been assembled by an otherwise capable leader who was most likely Peter Langan. As it was, the crew was formed on a pattern most commonly suggested to modern "hard core" militia groups. The profile usually will include: a paramilitary motivation and group structure, moral and ethical disassociation from general society, a willingness of core group members to take risks, and core members who posses the skills and physical ability to undertake demanding tasks. A robbery crew will usually need at least four people to be effective, while more than eight is a crowd. Langan's group usually ran four to six and was called the "Aryan Republican Army, apparently loosely based on the Irish Republican Army. The people were apparently hand-picked and competant. They seemed to embrace a number of right wing causes more than motivations of personal greed.
According to estimates published by the FBI and the ADL, the crew was competant enough to avoid capture for two years. Some members are apparently yet to be arrested. They were eventually tied into22 to 25 robberies over a two year period in 1994 and 1995, with an estimated take around $250,000. That gives us the opportunity to do some math.
Lets figure some two year average for the crew, which at any given time we will average at five people. Sometimes four, sometimes as many as eight, but reports say that it was usually around four per "job". If we average out the taken on a given robbery would then have been around $10,000. Sound like a lot of money in a hurry right? Now take that $10K and divide by the five guys on the average job - that's right at $2000 per man per month. Not exactly an outlaw's life of luxury considering the amount of travel, hotel rooms, safe houses, weapons, drop cars and payoff for money laundering that had to be covered out of that take. Make all of those deductions, and we discover that the big bad bank robber crew was probably not living any better than your grocerty store shelf-stockers. In fact, if the crew had simply opened a contracting business in a booming area and scammed licensing and tax requirements, they probably could have raised more money.
Some reasons for the unenviable lifestyle of professional robbers:
Banks hold very little cash these days, in fact, they rarely can even cash a $20,000 check without a few days notice. Banks these days are often just clearinghouses for checks and electronic transactions, with less than 10% of transactions being in cash.
Bank Robbery is both a federal and state crime, which means it gets more attention from law enforcement than other crimes.
Banks have sophisticated security systems that may not be able to prevent or stop a robbery, but are quite capable assisting later investigations.
Law enforcement and members of the public who might otherwise be sympathetic will almost always be hostile to the robbers.