HSI and ACAMS Release New Report on Organized Crime in Retail
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) announced that they have formed a partnership and released a report to help combat organized retail crime.
The report, “Detecting and Reporting Illicit Financial Flows Linked to Organized Theft Groups and Organized Retail Crime”, highlights red flags associated with organized theft groups, including structured deposits and withdrawals, large purchases of stored-value cards, high-value wire transfers linked to wholesalers involved in health and beauty supplies , and large purchases of liquid lighters or hot air guns, among others.
“Organized retail crime is driving more brazen and violent attacks on retail stores across the country and many of the criminal networks that orchestrate these thefts are also involved in other serious criminal activity,” said Steve Francis, Acting Associate Executive Director of HSI. “Addressing this growing threat is important to the safety of store employees, customers and communities across the country. »
The report also serves as a guide for law enforcement investigators and Financial Crime Enforcement (AFC) professionals, outlining how organized thieves groups steal and resell retail goods in online marketplaces and launder around $69 billion in illicit profits via the US financial system and commerce. money laundering (TBML) each year.
“Large-scale retail theft and the money laundering that enables it are exactly the type of illicit activity that law enforcement, financial institutions and other stakeholders can combat more effectively together through public-private partnerships,” said Scott Liles, CEO of ACAMS. “This guide is not just a roadmap for criminal investigators and AFC professionals looking to better combat organized crime in the retail industry – it’s also a call for greater collaboration to dismantle these dangerous criminal syndicates.”
According to the report, law enforcement, retailers, online marketplaces and financial institutions should work together through public-private partnerships to facilitate information sharing and coordinate actions that help investigators better fight against organized crime in the retail trade. Banks and other institutions may also consider “reasonably” improving anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-terrorist financing (CFT) compliance programs to detect and report crime-related activities. organized in detail.
“Retail organized theft is a low-risk, high-reward crime that generates nearly $70 billion in the United States alone, and much of that money is funneled to financial institutions under the covered in legitimate sales made through online marketplaces,” said report co-author Lauren Kohr, ACAMS Senior Director of Anti-Money Laundering in the Americas. “For this reason, it is essential that banks and other financial institutions are not only aware of the scale of the problem, but also work actively to identify and report related suspicious activity.”
Although retail organized crime is not specifically highlighted in U.S. financial regulation, organized theft groups are often involved in other illicit activities cited in the Department of US Treasury, including cybercrime, fraud, drug trafficking, terrorist financing, arms trafficking, and transnational organized crime. Recent investigations have also identified retail organized crime schemes exploiting undocumented migrants coerced into stealing goods to pay off “coyotes” who smuggle them across international borders.
The full report is available here.