This is a special report: How Money Laundering Can DIRECTLY Affect YOU Or Your Business!
Most people go through each day giving no thought whatsoever to money laundering, yet, whether you choose to think about it or not, money laundering, and the efforts to fight it, can impact you directly – in your business or in your own home.
First, as a business in the US, did you know you have a legal obligation to report the receipt of more than $10,000 in cash or cash equivalents, which include foreign currency, cashier’s checks, money orders, bank drafts and traveler’s checks – in any combination? As long as it is for a single transaction (not item – but transaction), the receipt can even take place over a period of time – as much as a 12-month period! (Banks and others with regular currency transaction reports have a cycle of only a single business day’s postings.) The form involved is IRS Form 8300. Do NOT ignore this! I am aware of individuals who have been sentenced to and served years in prison for purposely ignoring this. I will make another posting soon just on Form 8300, its requirements and how to fill it out properly.
Second, for those of you who have followed several other of my posts, you are aware that knowledge of the funds being illicit at the time of receipt is a critical component for it to be money laundering. However, the concept of willful blindness can put you in a position that you should have known, so therefore, you DID know. So, especially as a business, you must be vigilant of who your customers are, if the transactions seem to make business sense, and how the transactions are being handled. For example, someone claiming to run a deli in Manhattan orders 83 complete Scuba outfits (suits, tanks, regulators, etc) from your sporting goods store. Already some bells should be sounding in your head, but that is a lot of business to turn away. For the payment, he signs 5 third-party checks over to you (in amounts and from entities that seem odd to have had such transactions with a deli), or he has money wired to you from several overseas companies, or a series of deposits are made directly to your bank account (you later find out these deposits were all made in cash and at a number of branches in several states). By now, there should be sirens too going off, but you REALLY NEED this sale. And, by now, you are an unwitting accomplice. Then, a few days later, he returns and cancels the order and asks for the refund to be a single check made payable to him personally. Even if you charge him an order cancellation fee, he walks away with a big, fat check from a locally reputable store, rather than in possibly stolen checks, or maybe even drug money (and you could still be financially responsible if the checks or wires do prove to be stolen or embezzled). An extreme example to say the least, but I wanted to point out some of the types of red flags one needs to be wary of.
And third, on a personal level, most all of us have received e-mails or seen work-at-home ads stating that some foreign company needs people to process payments for them – often paying 10% commissions to do so. Well, these are money mule schemes and, if you participate, you have just committed the crime of money laundering. Law enforcement will contend (and prevail) that you should have known better and that you had to have suspected the funds might somehow have been illicit (and therefore, you KNEW). So not only will you lose your little commission, you will likely have to make up the funds your forwarded (because that money is long, long gone and way out of anyone’s reach), but, additionally, you could be facing jail time for money laundering (people that assist those that are laundering are as guilty of the crime as the actual perpetrators). So stay clear.
As the old adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. I hope this has been informative and that I have raised your awareness.
Again, this has been a special report from the AML Assassin.