With Gold, a Brighter Spotlight Falls on a Tried and True Money Laundering Method

By Kira Zalan

When federal agents dug through Natalie Jewelry's financial transactions in 2012, they unearthed a classic money-laundering scheme. The owners of the Florida-based business, Natalie and Jed Ladin, had used their company to import undervalued gold from two Guatemalan companies, only to wire back suspicious overpayments likely linked to criminal proceeds. The investigation, which ended with the couple's guilty plea earlier this year, is notable for an unusual reason: it reflects a modest success in a decades-long effort to minimize the exploitation of gold. In many instances, money launderers have successfully transferred illicit proceeds through gold by simply tweaking its reported...