Although investigators have little empirical insight into how often criminals exploit trade to transfer illicit value, the scope of trade-based money laundering is likely "overwhelming," according to John Cassara, a former intelligence agent and U.S. Treasury Department official. The most popular tactics, such as over- and under-invoicing, are at times viewed as standard practices of business in certain parts of the world, according to Cassara, who as an investigator for U.S. Customs helped uncover schemes in the 1990s that criminals continue to replicate today. Cassara, the author of "Trade-Based Money Laundering: The Next Frontier in International Money Laundering Enforcement," recently...
Long considered one of the toughest illicit finance schemes to crack, trade-based money laundering is on the rise in response to stricter regulatory oversight of financial institutions, U.S. investigators said Monday.
Trade-based schemes and bulk cash smuggling are among the most common tactics used by international money launderers, according to Joseph Gallion, the deputy assistant director of the Financial, Narcotics and Special Operations Division for the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Though headlines are focused on the subprime mortgage crisis and recessionary fears, criminals are still finding ways to launder funds, including through trade-based finance , says Elaine Carey, Senior Vice President and National Director of Control Risks, an independent risk consultancy office.
Technological developments offer governments unprecedented ability to address trade-based crime. But there's a problem, according to Nikos Passas, a professor who studies financial crime at Boston-based Northeastern University: governments aren't utilizing available tools.