White Collar Crime Prosecutions Up 8.5 % from Last Month

A short digression from money laundering news to reference a recent post on the White Collar Crime Prof blog highlighting statistics that showed an 8.5% increase in the number of white collar crime cases being prosecuted in May 2006 as compared with April 2006. Bank fraud continues to be the number one charge being used.

White collar crime prosecution statistics are monitored by the Syracuse University TracReports, which summarize the government's recent efforts when it comes to combating white collar crime -- the number of such cases, the investigative agencies involved, the laws cited, the busiest federal districts and the busiest federal judges.

Origin of the Term Money Laundering

According to Answers.com, the term of "money laundering" does not derive, as is often said, from the often repeated story that Al Capone used laundromats to hide ill-gotten gains from the sale of then-illegal alcohol. It was Meyer Lansky that perfected money laundering's older brother, "capital flight", by transferring his funds to Switzerland and other offshore places. The first reference to the term "money laundering" itself actually appears during the Watergate scandal. US President Richard Nixon's "Committee to Re-Elect The President" moved illegal campaign contributions to Mexico, then brought the money back through a company in Miami. It was Britain's Guardian newspaper that coined the term, referring to the process as "laundering."

Laundering laws, terror policy hurt check-cashers

The Baltimore Sun reported recently that some national and regional banks are dropping as check-cashing operations and other money-service businesses as customers over concerns that such firms aren't following federal guidelines meant to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing. Without banking services, a handful of money services businesses have closed in Maryland, according to the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Those businesses often operate in low-income neighborhoods where residents rely on them to cash paychecks and transfer money to families in other countries. Regulators fear those residents might be forced to turn to loan sharks and other illegal means for their banking needs, should more financial institutions follow suit.

Nationally, check-cashing and related money service businesses cash more than 180 million checks a year with a total value of more than $60 billion, generating almost $1.5 billion in fee revenues, according to the Financial Service Centers of America, a trade group.

See the full story here.