Money launderers seeking new outlets, police warn

Emerging trends in the money laundering scene include bulk movements of cash, both domestically and internationally, and the use of money service businesses such as currency exchange companies to launder funds…As well, people use professionals, on a knowing or unknowing basis, such as lawyers and accountants.

The Globe and Mail
October 17, 2006

Money launderers seeking new outlets, police warn
Stymied by banks, criminals use couriers, electronic transfers to move cash around
Wendy Stueck

VANCOUVER — Hampered by rules that have made it more difficult to launder money through banks, criminals are turning to other methods to whitewash their ill-gotten gains, including electronic transfers and moving cash around by couriers.

"The days are long gone where you could walk into a bank with a bag of twenties and deposit the cash," RCMP Superintendent Don Panchuk told delegates to a money laundering conference yesterday.

Criminals are finding other ways to place their money into the legitimate financial system, he said, including group efforts that involve different criminal organizations sending funds around the planet via electronic transfers. "What takes them five minutes and a couple of keystrokes takes us six to eight months to get proper documents in place to go do a search in a foreign jurisdiction," he said.

Emerging trends in the money laundering scene include bulk movements of cash, both domestically and internationally, and the use of money service businesses such as currency exchange companies to launder funds, said Sergeant Stephanie Sachsse of the RCMP's Integrated Proceeds of Crime division. As well, people use professionals, on a knowing or unknowing basis, such as lawyers and accountants.

Marijuana grown in Ontario and British Columbia is being packaged and sold in the United States, generating a flood of U.S. dollars back into Canada, Sgt. Sachsse said.

Authorities are making cash seizures of $200,000 to $300,000 at a time on a weekly basis, she said. "It's being smuggled in vehicles, it's being taped to bodies, it's being concealed in a purse."

In a bid to avoid crackdowns on cross-border shipments, organized crime players are starting to work together to move cash within Canada and the U.S. on each other's behalf, Sgt. Sachsse said, sometimes shipping cash billed as "documents" through courier services.

Organized criminals are also turning to currency exchange businesses to launder proceeds, Sgt. Sachsse said.

These companies do provide legitimate services, such as setting up foreign payment systems for companies that do a lot of international business. But these businesses can be easily abused, Sgt. Sachsse said.

"It is not unimaginable to see people walk into a currency exchange [business] in Toronto or Vancouver with $200,000 in U.S. cash and see them walk out 10 minutes later with Canadian cash — with no paperwork filed, no questions asked and no reporting to Fintrac," Sgt. Sachsse said, referring to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.


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Risks: Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP, Money laundering, Organized crime, Solicitor-client privilege used to shield white-collar crime (self and others), Canada, 20061017 Money launderers

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