Magazine article Security Management

Money Laundering Testimony Heard

Magazine article Security Management

Money Laundering Testimony Heard

Article excerpt

It has been estimated that between $6oo billion and $1.5 trillion in funds is laundered around the world each year. Whatever the figure, money laundering has been widely recognized as an enormous problem, enough to prompt new efforts to crack down on it by law enforcement and Congress. To that end, several experts recently appeared before the House Committee on Government's Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources. They discussed trends in money laundering, the state of anti-money laundering efforts, and proposed legislation that would crack down on perpetrators of these schemes.

Kenneth Rijock, a former career money launderer for a narcotics trafficking organization, criticized law enforcement efforts as being conducted by agents and officers without advanced degrees in finance and law, and who generally never worked in a commercial business setting." He called for enhanced training and long-term educational requirements for these agents, including subsidies for postgraduate degrees.

He also decried a system in which federal law enforcement agents are routinely transferred to a new assignment just when they are becoming proficient at their current job. He said that money launderers exploit this system, moving money past junior, inexperienced officers while senior officers are off duty. Thus, he argued, "Duty assignments can no longer reward those with the most time in grade; we need those people in the field during high-risk periods."

Deputy Assistant General Mary Lee Warren proposed other solutions, including supporting H.R. 4695, the Money Laundering Act of 2000. She pointed out that the bill would expand the list of crimes that serve as the basis for money laundering prosecutions in cases where the proceeds of foreign crimes by foreign criminals are concealed in the United States. Currently, it is a crime to launder the proceeds categories of foreign crimes in the United States: drug trafficking, bank fraud, and violent crimes linked to terrorism.

New predicate offenses would include bribery of public officials and arms trading, for instance. (Generally if the predicate offenses did not occur in the United States, they are not punishable there.) Several other sections of the bill would help prevent money laundering by criminals who commit a crime in the United States and conceal the proceeds abroad, she testified.

William F. Wechsler, Treasury special advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, spoke in support of another legislative proposal, the International Counter-Money Laundering and Foreign Anti-Corruption Act of 2000 (H. …

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