By Brandon Peterson, Marketing —
In the crime of money laundering, is currency the only method criminals use to commit fraud? Most think of actual dollars being embezzled and smuggled. But when it comes to money laundering, criminals have found more ways to increase their profits under the radar. Take for example what occurred in south Texas.
Last March, a political appointee in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas was indicted on money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud charges—and he wasn’t just laundering currency. The US government is attempting to seize an airplane, land, and other assets all worth several million dollars. All of these were being used to launder money from drug cartels.
Money Laundering: Not Just Currency
Laundering currency can be a challenge because it can be tracked more easily and therefore it is useless to criminals like drug traffickers. Instead, they come up with innovative ways to introduce “money” into the financial system and move it around so it appears “clean.” Owning massive amounts of land and high-ticketed items—such as an airplane—are just a few ways to impersonate clean money.
According to US prosecutors, the former governor of Tamaulipas formed a shell company in the US to launder drug cartel money. This shell company purchased an airplane which was used by drug cartel members and corrupt government and business officials to travel between Mexico and the US. When the former governor was under investigation in 2012, he transferred the plane to his hired political appointee, who lied to First National Bank about owning the plane, attempting to defraud the bank. Shell companies and asset shifting such as this are common strategies employed by money launderers. They make money and assets difficult to track and expose other players in the financial system, such as banks, to financial risk.
Wash out the Dirty Money
One tool that could be utilized in the fight against fraud, money laundering, and government corruption is EyeDetect, an ocular-based lie-detection system that tracks involuntary eye movement to determine if someone is being deceptive. Governments without anti-polygraph law in place could use EyeDetect to screen government officials and political appointees to determine if they are involved in illegal activities.
Photo courtesy of TaxRebate.org.uk