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 U.S. Money Laundering Threat Assessment Released


1/12/2006

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The United States Government today released the inter-agency U.S. Money Laundering Threat Assessment (MLTA), the first government-wide analysis of its kind, which investigates money laundering vulnerabilities across a spectrum of techniques used by criminals.

"Before you can effectively treat a problem, you must first have an accurate diagnosis. The Money Laundering Threat Assessment integrates information contributed by sixteen government agencies, as well as vital Bank Secrecy Act data provided to Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to evaluate the range of current and emerging U.S. money laundering threats," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). "This is an example of government cooperation at its best."

Sixteen U.S. bureaus, offices and agencies collaborated on the MLTA from the Departments of Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the United States Postal Service.

"One of our critical missions is to protect the integrity of our financial system. This comprehensive assessment is a significant step towards stemming the flow of illicit proceeds into the United States and insuring that our financial institutions are not utilized to facilitate terrorism or criminal activities," said Chris Swecker, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI.

Each chapter of the MLTA profiles the characteristics of a specific method of money laundering, outlining the current legal and regulatory landscape and presenting known patterns of abuse, geographical concentrations, and real-world case studies.

"Our teams of civil and criminal investigators are committed to the government's National Anti-Money Laundering efforts," said Richard Speier, acting IRS Chief, Criminal Investigation. "The scope of our commitment is demonstrated by the fact that the IRS has on-going civil and criminal investigations in each of the 13 identified categories found in this threat assessment."

The laundering methodologies investigated range from banks and money transmitters to alternative methods, such as casinos and trade-based money laundering. The MLTA also looks at new and emerging industries, such as online payment systems and stored value cards, which are vulnerable to illicit financial activities.

"From Hawalas to the Black Market Peso Exchange to the bulk smuggling of cash across our nation's borders, DEA is targeting drug traffickers' tainted profits like never before. Last year, DEA seized a record $1.9 billion from the pockets of greed-driven drug traffickers worldwide. The money trail that leads to drug traffickers' wallets is the same trail that will lead to their ultimate demise," said Donald C. Semesky Jr., DEA's Chief of Financial Operations.

"ICE is proud of its substantial contributions to the government's first national Money Laundering Threat Assessment. We look forward to working with our partners in formulating a comprehensive strategy to address these threats," said Julie Myers, Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "Over the past few years, ICE has dramatically expanded its anti-money laundering efforts to address those financial systems most vulnerable to criminal and terrorist exploitation."

The following bureaus, offices, and agencies collaborated on the MLTA:

Department of the Treasury

    • Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI)
      • Office of Terrorist Financing & Financial Crime (TFFC)
      • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
      • Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA)
      • Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
      • Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture (TEOAF)
    • Internal Revenue Service
      • Criminal Investigation (CI)
      • Small Business/Self Employed Division (SB/SE)

Department of Justice

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • Criminal Division
  • National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC)
  • Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)

Department of Homeland Security

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

  • United States Postal Service (USPS)
    • United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)

"By bringing together government-wide participants with the relevant expertise and experience, we were able to produce a report that should help policymakers, regulators, and the law enforcement community to make better-informed decisions in allocating resources and combating money laundering," said Levey.

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