Inland Revenue Service division awarded for cracking complex US-Mexico TBML conspiracy

The US treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has awarded the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID)for its investigation into a transnational money laundering organisation operating in the US and Mexico through a complex trade-based money laundering (TBML) scheme.

The division was one of seven award recipients of the 2020 FinCEN Director’s Law Enforcement Awards Programme, which recognises law enforcement agencies that used Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting to successfully pursue and prosecute criminal investigations.

Complex TBML scheme

The IRS-CID and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led an investigation in which BSA reporting was crucial in identifying bank accounts and ultimately uncovering and substantiating multiple criminal violations. 

Investigators unearthed a complex TBML scheme that involved couriers picking up drug proceeds in the form of US currency from multiple cities in the US and transporting it by various means to Texas.  

Mexican connections

Once in Texas, the organisation laundered the funds through commodities businesses, including perfume sellers, using a sophisticated TBML scheme.  

The drug proceeds collected in the US were assigned by Mexico-based peso brokers to Mexican import businesses who owed US dollars to US export businesses.  

Part of the proceeds were then delivered to the particular US export businesses as payment for the purchase of goods, while the remainder of the proceeds were transferred through a series of additional transactions to Mexican drug cartels.

Defendants guilty

In total, this organisation laundered more than US$2.8 million while around US$2.5 million was seized during the investigation.

All of the defendants tried for offences connected with the operation have now been convicted of various money laundering and conspiracy charges.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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