2017 White-Collar Crime Evaluation

AFP photo

 

By

Ricardo Swire

 

Annually the Basel Institute on Governance, a Swiss non-profit competence center, evaluates global private/public sector trends to help internal security officials counteract corruption and financial crimes.  A financial crime is any non-violent breach of the law, committed against an individual or business that results in monetary loss. When a commercial institution is involved the crime is labeled a financial sector offence. Tax evasion, embezzlement of company funds and sale of fictitious insurance policies are members of the financial crime family.

White collar crime is any non-violent act involving deception, typically committed by an entrepreneur or public official. Evidence involves a “paper trail” which investigators use to prosecute the case. Caribbean internal security intelligence practitioners consider the 2017 Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index’s inclusion of Caribbean and Latin America countries, among one hundred and forty-six international nations scrutinized. Sixty-five percent of the Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index’s score is tabulated by scrutineering listed countries’ legislative frameworks and government systems.

Bolivia, Haiti and Paraguay recorded the Basel Index Money Laundering category’s highest scores. A designation which translates to the trio most at risk. Haiti’s assessment in particular is verified by the June 8, 2016 Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) public statement, an appeal to members regarding special consideration of new risks, influenced by Haiti’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime deficiencies.

The 2017 US State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) validates the Basel Institute on Governance Index’s assessment. INCSR indicates “while Haiti itself is not a major financial center, regional narcotics and money laundering enterprises utilize Haitian couriers, primarily via maritime routes. Much of the drug trafficking in Haiti, as well as the related money laundering, is US connected.” Most identified money laundering schemes involve significant amounts of US currency held in financial institutions outside Haiti or non-financial entities in Haiti, such as restaurants and small businesses.

As of October 2016 foreign currencies represented sixty-three percent of Haiti’s bank deposits. Originally Haiti adopted important legislation, in particular anti-corruption and AML laws. Haiti’s weak judicial system has exposed the country to corruption and money laundering. The majority of property confiscations have involved drug traffickers convicted in America.

None of 2017 Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index’s listed Caribbean and Latin Americas territories improved their 2016 scores. Jamaica registered six point six zero, the worst decline overall. During 2016 the Island’s multi-million dollar advance fee frauds peaked. Jamaican Lottery scams offered a lucrative winning ticket as bait. In early August 2017 one Jamaican lottery scammer was intercepted by a multi-national law enforcement team from “Operation Hard Copy.”

Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) /United States Marshal Service (USMS) officers detained the federal fugitive in Kingston, Jamaica. The scammer was originally charged in North Dakota, USA as key orchestrator of a Lottery scam, US$5.8 million international wire/mail fraud and money laundering. According to the 2017 Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index Trinidad & Tobago (T&T), Ecuador and Peru’s scores degraded compared to 2016.

T&T’s six point eight zero score was personified in the Thursday August 10th 2017 arrest of a T&T Police Service Inspector. TTPS Organized Crime & Narcotics Bureau detectives intercepted the senior law enforcer and his wife, as they were about to board a commercial airline at Piarco International Airport. Simultaneously, law enforcers executed search warrants at the Inspector’s office and his Princes Town south-central Trinidad residence. Jewelry worth TT$1 million and two vehicles together valued TT$600,000, linked to money laundering, were seized.

Other Caribbean states, listed in the 2017 Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index, were the Dominican Republic with a six point six nine score. Grenada accumulated a six point zero four count. Over the years Grenada struggled with anti-money laundering compliance applications. In 2003 the Caribbean island was removed from the FATF Non-Cooperative Countries List aka the regional “Blacklist.” St Vincent & the Grenadines scored five point nine six, while St Lucia totalled five point seven two.

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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