Bankers Warned to Watch out for Launderers
MIAMI -- Today's money launderers may be your clean-cut neighbors having a barbecue next door.
They may be dressed no differently than you, wearing a three-piece suit, if that's the regional style, or cowboy boots and jeans, if it's not.
That was the message delivered to a group of bankers Thursday by federal law enforcement officials who gave a presentation on money laundering during the fourth annual American Bankers Association conference on the insurance and protection of financial institutions, held here.
The government estimates that some $100 billion may be laundered every year, most of it as a result of illicit drug sales.
The officials emphasized that banks and other financial institutions play the critical role in the money-laundering business, by converting cash into easily transported cashier's checks, or by making deposits into checking accounts.
"They're going to use a financial institutin somewhere along the line," said Michael McDonald, the drug enforcement coordinator for the Internal Revenue Service in Florida and the Caribbean Task Force.
The officials admonished bankers to become more vigilant in preventing money laundering.
John Rankin, a deputy assistant in the IRS criminal investigation commission, said laundering no longer is restricted to Florida, but is spreading across the country.
Laundering "has increased somewhat along the same lines as drug trafficking in the past few years," Mr. Rankin said.
That view was shared by one banker from Detroit, who spoke of an increase in laundering in his area.
"Our part of the country has far less instances of money laundering than in Florida, but all indicatins are that it's starting to show up in places where it didn't happen before," Carl carter, a vice president at the National Bank of Detroit, said after the session. …