Money Laundering and Your Bank Accounts – Part II – Avoiding Scrutiny

image by Andrew Gook

This is a continuation of our series on money laundering and bank accounts. We hope to help you avoid making yourself look guilty during the normal course of business. Keeping things above board is the surest path to a sound sleep.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

When interacting with the banking system you have no assumption of innocence working on your behalf. With over a trillion dollars having already been laundered and billions more being laundered every year, monetary authorities are nervous. Furthermore, only 0.2% of the money laundered is caught. Every citizen pays the cost for this in higher taxes and higher prices.
Know what the cop on the beat is looking for and you can stay above reproach. Sometimes this may seem troublesome, but in the long run, your life will be easier.

Common Efforts to Avoid Reporting or Recordkeeping Requirements

You try to persuade a bank employee not to file required reports or maintain required records for your bank accounts.

This is a high-speed train to prison. Don’t even think about it.

You are reluctant to provide information needed to file a mandatory report, to have the report filed, or to proceed with a transaction after being informed that the report must be filed.

Reluctance looks like guilt. Know in advance everything that is required of you. If the workload is too great or the information too sensitive, don’t open an account.

You hesitate to furnish identification when purchasing negotiable instruments in recordable amounts.

Negotiable instruments are cumbersome, but in sufficiently large quantities can be useful to money launderers, especially if they are smurfing. (Doing many small transactions to avoid alerting authorities.) Banks know this. Bank examiners know this. Never, ever hesitate to show your identification.

You ask to be exempted from reporting or record-keeping requirements for your bank deposits.

When it comes to money, criminals don’t want perfect records. Sloppy/missing records are the hallmark of criminal intent. Keep perfect records and give the banks what they ask for and be happy to do so.

You often use the automated teller machine to make several bank deposits below a specified threshold.

Banks look for multiple small transactions (“structured transactions”) which are used to get around the $10,000 limit. Using an ATM or multiple ATMs won’t hide the structured deposits. Make deposits to different accounts and in different amounts and collect them ultimately in one account and you’ll set off an alarm. Don’t bother to try.

You deposit funds into several bank accounts, usually in amounts of less than $3,000.Then you consolidate them into a master account and transfer them outside the country.

Bad move. If you send the money to or through a suspicious location you may hear a knock on your door. This is just one small step more complicated than the earlier approach. They will notice.

You access a safe deposit box after completing a transaction involving a large withdrawal of currency or accesses a safe deposit box before making currency deposits structured at or just under $10,000, to evade the bothersome CTR filing requirements.

The bank tracks everything you do with its computers. You can’t fool them with something this simple. Why try?

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