Thursday, December 9, 2010

...and One More To Round Off the Stories of Gift Card Fraud: Cartels Using Gift Cards to Launder Money

From KRGV Texas.

"Prepaid gift cards are one of the most popular gifts this time of the year but the cartels see dollars sign on those cards too.

Mary maxwell, an anti-money laundering specialist, says the cartels are using these cards to launder money and are using a loophole that needs to be closed.

Maxwell goes on to say the balances can be transferred into an established account and then the money is laundered. The cartel uses the cards as a payment for smuggling individuals and drugs.

The money laundering laws were last updated in 2003. The Government Accountability Office Financial Crimes Enforcement Network doesn't have the regulations to stop the crime.

For example, one has to tell a customs officer if they are carrying $10,000 or more in cash across the border. But, you don't have to do the same thing with these cards.

Maxwell says the solution is to ID everybody who buys the cards.

She says the banks are trying to monitor the cards by tracing and tracking the serial numbers. Even after the card is sold, its not too late for banks to report that activity to the government. Banks do this to create a paper trail to find the bad guys.

The Government Accountability Office says the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is developing regulations to close the loophole on the disposable cards. Maxwell added states are trying to plug the holes until the federal law changes."


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