Thursday, July 17, 2008

When you think of the laundry think beyond King Koin and Mommy's

With progress on our waterfront and other local opportunities arising, apparently could come an increase in unsavoury characters looking to make easy money, or pass it for that matter.

Wednesday's Daily News had details of an information session put on by the RCMP to help local business owners become more aware of money laundering techniques conducted by the criminal element looking to clean their money from ill gotten sources.

High cost of dirty money explained
Experts showing how to be on-guard against money launderers
The Daily News
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Page one

RCMP money-laundering specialists are in town today to teach Ruperites what they can do to be on guard against organized crime.

While Prince Rupert's financial upswing is mostly good news, it also opened the town to the possibility of increased criminal activity.

"With the port comes increased opportunity to educate about the opportunities for crime," said Constable Krista Vrolyk.

Corporal Dave Reece along with student assistants Kevin Rakhra and Emily Li will be giving an information session at Northern Savings Credit Union at 7 p.m. tonight as part of their tour of the area.

"Prince Rupert has never been covered before," said Reece. "We thought it would be a good place to come."

The RCMP is hoping to attract employees and owners of small businesses and money exchanges, places that are likely to be targeted by money-launderers.

"We're here to help people in the community recognize money laundering when it happens and what they can do about it," said Reece.

"We want to help prevent businesses from unintentionally participating in money-laundering."

Money-laundering happens when organized criminals, especially drug traffickers, generate large amounts of cash from illegal activities, which they need to legitimize in order to benefit from it. Usually, they will try to convert the cash into some other form of asset in order to conceal its illegal origins.

"It goes along with organized crime, which is the biggest threat to communities," said Reece.
There are three main methods of money laundering.

The first is placement, where the launderer introduces illegal funds into the financial system. This can be done by breaking up a larger amount of cash and depositing it into various bank accounts, or by buying a series of things like money orders, which are later collected and deposited into another account.

The second is layering, where money is moved around between bank accounts and passed off as payments for goods or services, giving them a legitimate appearance.

And last is integration, the method that local businesses should be the most vigilant against. This happens when illicit funds re-enter the legitimate economy, through real estate and luxury assets. For an example, a money launderer may choose to buy an expensive car in cash to convert dirty money into a legitimate asset.

Businesses have a duty to report any suspicious transaction.

"The negative impacts are immeasurable," said Rakhra.

"It gives criminals more money to expand their criminal enterprise."

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