Law Enforcement Investigations for AML Are More Than Asset Seizures

In the mid to late 2000’s, anti money laundering (AML) efforts were focused on illicit drugs and identifying those responsible for distributing those drugs. The investigations involved chasing the money and seizing the assets which would presumably halt the distribution network.

Fast forward to 2010:  drugs were certainly significant in the movement and laundering of money but other nefarious activities (e.g. terrorism, human trafficking, etc.) began to pop up, placing greater pressure upon our law enforcement community.

Today, AML investigations require greater depth of education, expertise, and collaboration across multiple agencies.   These agencies – large and small – must become familiar with all aspects of banking law and establish relationships with banks in order to address the societal problems enabled by money laundering.

Modern money laundering schemes support gang activity, narcotics distribution, human trafficking, terrorist financing, and corporate fraud. This is a heavy burden for law enforcement agencies, who must balance their regular “police work” with the great cost and elevated caseload associated with these more complex crimes.

Since 2010, legislation has made feeble attempts to harden laws on the books.  Financial investigation units have been established to support law enforcement agencies and financial institutions in combatting money laundering, but “adding more people” is expensive and often adds to the complexity.

Inevitably, technology must become a part of the equation.  Leveraging technology to automate a lot of the heavy lifting that occurs when processing large quantities of transactional data is a requirement if any sort of real progress is to be made.

We will never legislate these problems away and waiting for “the solution” rather than wading into the water will never deliver results in a timely fashion to stop these heinous acts of crime which will continue to infest our cities and impact the lives of our citizens.  Whether police, civilian or trained accountants, they need to be embedded with operational and intelligence units armed with technology that will allow them to learn from one another and collaborate effectively to resolve these challenges.

Boiling this down to a local level: engaging a partner like Alpine will make it possible for your agency to formulate a plan to address money laundering and other complex crimes.  Alpine understands the technology, regulatory requirements, and the unique challenges that exist in law enforcement.

Our staff consists of former law enforcement officers, analysts and other subject matter experts who have “been there and done that”.  We know that technology is only useful if it is adopted and easy to use.  Most agencies don’t have the time, budget, or patience to embark on a wonky technology science project, and our experience helps us design solutions that are simple, economical and effective.

Alpine’s philosophy is that the solutions brought forth should be capable of helping to make sense of the data agencies already possess without creating major projects, huge infrastructure investments and human capital investments.   Start small and build from there in a cost- effective fashion.

When assisting law enforcement agencies, a typical starting point for Alpine is to help build a clear view of the individuals and groups who impact the public safety.  Law enforcement data is often scattered throughout the agency, and we often embark in efforts to consolidate, clean, and protect the data.  Making the right data available to the right people at the right time leads to accurate and timely decision making.

Once this is accomplished, we can go further down the road of producing intelligence from data – bringing “sensemaking” to the equation allowing investigators to act more rapidly and collaborate in a more useful fashion with the police on the street.  We also focus on helping agencies develop flexible procedures and technology solutions that help them keep pace with the constant evolution of crime.

Safer communities is the end goal, and we believe we can help you work toward that objective by automating or eliminating the resource-draining obstacles that dilute your team.  As we see with money laundering, crime evolves rapidly and becomes more complex over time.  Addressing the challenges now puts your team in a better position to adapt and thrive.

We hope that you will consider sharing your experiences with us and allow us to show you how we have been assisting others.   As the saying goes, rising tides lifts all boats.  We look forward to helping you protect your community.  Contact us so we can talk further.

Stan Duda – CEO, Alpine Consulting, Inc.

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