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Navigating the Complexities of Law Enforcement in Money Laundering Cases

On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, the ACAMS New York Chapter hosted an event titled “Navigating the Complexities of Law Enforcement in Money Laundering Cases” sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery. The discussion was moderated Pawneet Abramowski - CEO & Founder, PARC Solutions and included the following panelists: Ray Donovan - Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Agency (Retired); Seth Rose - Special Agent, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations; Todd Harrison - Partner, McDermott Will & Emery; Peter P. Orphanos - Director, Global Data Risk (Federal Bureau of Investigation - Retired); and George Ioannidis - Acting Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations.

The conversation began with the panel describing in their experience how financial crimes has changed over the last decade. One change noted by the panel was money as a store of value. Virtual currencies have been a challenge for law enforcement and exploits on the blockchain will only continue to occur. Financial fraud was also mentioned as another crime that has been on the rise due to phishing scams and companies dealing with system breaches/hacks. Prior to 9/11 and the computer age paper trails were heavily relied upon and now we spend more time following the data.


Millions of SARs are filed every year and law enforcement uses this information to build cases. They are data mining and looking for patterns using machine learning to justify opening cases. Much happens behind the scenes that employees in financial institutions don’t see, but the information these investigators provide is considered the lifeblood of a lot of financial investigations. 

The panel highlighted a recent report published by the US Treasury, National Illicit Financial Strategy, which lays forth a blueprint for the US government to address risks and threats to the system. Compliance professionals should understand what’s going on in the world, so they know when dynamics change and can do everything possible from a private sector perspective to protect their organization.

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