Award winners: FinCEN’s annual list of top crimes solved, part 1
FinCEN recently held its annual awards ceremony that recognizes law enforcement agencies that made effective use of financial institution reporting to successfully prosecute crimes. Here is a summary of this year’s award recipients:
SAR Review Task Force: New York State Police
A bank in the Hudson Valley Region noticed that one of its accounts had an unusual pattern of cash deposits along with rapid withdrawal from ATMs across the United States. Using suspicious activity reports (SARs) along with other investigative tools, a special unit at the New York State Police was able to identify expansive criminal organizations that were responsible for importing large quantities of narcotics, operating business fronts used to launder funds, trafficking weapons, smuggling bulk cash, and conducting extensive gang activity, including murder.
The multi-agency investigation eventually led to the seizure of firearms, illicit drugs, cash and other assets as well as the indictment of 55 individuals.
Transnational Organized Crime: FBI
A referral from local law enforcement led the FBI to arrest and charge an individual with money laundering. This person in turn helped in the discovery of a network of criminal actors and accounts suspected of laundering money through businesses and trust accounts located in several countries.
In co-operation with foreign and domestic law enforcement partners, it was found that the suspects and organization were bringing in $100–$300 million annually in criminal proceeds in North America alone. Through this information, authorities arrested and convicted several targets on various money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy charges.
Transnational Security Threats: FBI
During the investigation of a criminal organization believed to be moving hundreds of millions of dollars for foreign nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the FBI identified two families that operated a network of exchange houses, precious metals companies and trading companies. These families also operated front companies throughout the Middle East that carried out financial activities for OFAC-sanctioned entities as well as entities with close ties to foreign military organizations.
Financial data identified one particular exchange house for foreign remittances, which enabled a grand jury to issue more than 100 subpoenas to U.S. financial institutions relating to more than 300 targets and millions of transactions totaling over $200 billion. Subsequent investigations, including into bribery, corruption and embezzlement, led to criminal charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, bank fraud, and sanctions violations to be laid against nine individuals, including an officer of a foreign bank. Criminal forfeiture is expected to be in the millions.
About Anu Sood
Anu Sood (LinkedIn | Twitter) is the Director Marketing at CaseWare RCM and is responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy. She has over 20 years of experience in product development, product management, product marketing, corporate communications, demand generation, content marketing and strategic marketing in high-tech industries.