This story from the Reuters News Service reminds us of the increasing sophistication and depth of the criminal world; and of the importance of bringing a corresponding depth to any attempts at criminal reformation, embodied in the Lampstand mission.
An excerpt from Reuters.
“The trouble with moving big amounts of cash, from a criminal’s point of view, is threefold. It’s bulky, it’s heavy and it smells.
“A stash of $1 million in mixed bills weighs around 100 pounds (50 kilos). Specially-trained dogs can sniff out bulk cash in a heartbeat.
“All of which helps to explain why drug cartels and financiers of terrorism appear to have been making increasing use of what FBI chief Robert Mueller calls a shadow banking system.
“Its features include a legal loophole that allows money launderers to get around the requirement that cash or “monetary instruments” (share certificates, travellers’ cheques, money orders etc.) in excess of $10,000 must be declared on entering or leaving the United States.
“It is, however, perfectly legal to carry, say, $50,000 embedded in the magnetic stripes of so-called pre-paid stored-value cards.
“They look like a credit or debit card but are not linked to a bank account, can in many cases be loaded anonymously, are not “monetary instruments” under U.S. law, and were labelled “the ideal instrument for large-scale drug trafficking and money-laundering operations” in a 2006 analysis by the National Drug Intelligence Center.
“It predicted that drug traffickers, narco-terrorists and other criminals would increasingly rely on stored-value cards — “superior to established methods of money laundering” — because they could be used without fear of documentation, identification, law enforcement suspicion or seizure.”