Thursday, May 03, 2012

Laundering Money Through Credit Card Transactions & ABCs of Money Laundering

Chances are, whenever you hear the words 'money laundering' images of the movie, "The Godfather", comes to mind; however, according to a former senior business relationship manager - responsible for managing and monitoring business accounts, cash flow, borrowing habits, and the relationship between those business accounts in order to invest money, ensuring profitability - at HSBC Holdings, PLC, a global company located in 80-90 countries, known as the "king of trade", John Cruz, author of World Banking World Fraud: Using Your Identity,  it’s the powerful “too big to fail” banks who are set up to do this dirty deed.

Keep in mind, bank employees - from $9/hour bank tellers to bank managers to loan officers to dime-a-dozen, vice presidents -  are vulnerable to prosecution for the slightest misstep. For instance, years ago, during my bank teller training, I was told that tellers could be prosecuted for adding or subtracting one penny in order to come out even at the end of the day. Adding one penny to your drawer is grounds for prosecution!

Anyway, as an employee of HSBC, John Cruz, after reviewing corporate accounts, started seeing suspicious patterns of deposits and withdrawals, which led Cruz to believe credit card transactions were being used as a means to launder money.   How did he figure this out?  Well, hundreds of thousands of corporate accounts were only being used for wire transfers Paypal, American Express, etc., only,  in even denominations: $20,000... $50,000...$500,000. Cruz tried to visit these corporations.  There was  one problem: they didn't exist.  Oh, on paper, they sure did, but there were no physical entities.   I mean, come on, how many companies do business in even round numbers like that? It's so obvious that Paypal, and American Express - complicit, or not - were/are used as vehicles to launder money. Of course, Paypal and American Express, when contacted, never responded.

"I found many accounts where PayPal and American Express were used as conduits through which hundreds of thousands of dollars were deposited or withdrawn from HSBC customer accounts in a pattern of suspicious transactions that should have been reported to legal authorities under various banking statutes, including the Patriot Act," - John Cruz
Cruz collected thousands of pages of customer account records that he claims are evidence of an international money-laundering scheme involving hundreds of billions of dollars by the global banking giant, which reportedly is under investigation by a U.S. Senate committee.

One would think, how do large corporations get away with this when their "dirty deeds" are so obvious to so many?  Simple. It only takes a few crooked people, strategically placed to set up the system; after that, it's mostly electronic, and once again, all it takes is a few strategically placed employees to monitor and ensure the process runs smoothly.   The rest of the employees are so conditioned not to question authority that they turn a blind eye. When that exceptional someone tries to blow the whistle, he's dealt with, usually fired.  And, on the rare occasion when someone like Cruz, takes it to the next level, the bought and paid for mainstream media totally ignore it.  Not to mention, most people know, deep down,  how whistle-blowers are treated: terribly.

Is HSBC the only corporation involved in laundering money?  Hardly.  Money laundering is built into the system of every large bank. If, by chance these banks are "caught", they pay a trivial fine. No one goes to jail, no one pays the price.  However, god forbid you're a $9/hour teller who deposits one penny to come out even, the all-powerful bank can prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law.

Given the billions of dollars involved in the drug trade, not to mention, human trafficking, there is no way the drug producers could function without banks.
"Why is drug supply prosecuted so vigorously and demand so leniently? Who in the United States is receiving drugs from Colombia, laundering the money, marketing the drugs every day to 30 million U.S. citizens, bribing lawyers, the police, and politicians? There must be U.S. drug barons far more powerful than any Colombian trafficker. But the people who are dying are those fighting them in Colombia, not in the United States. 

 What is the basis of the anti-Mexican phobia…? During a recent visit to Los Angeles, I heard the same arguments over and over… [Mexicans] are…the reason for unemployment in California, and, last but not least, they introduce drugs.

Drugs do not enter the United States through Tijuana and San Diego tied up in migrant workers kerchiefs. They arrive in planes belonging to U.S. dealers whose names no one knows and who are never the objects of the sort of publicity and persecution given their Latin American counterparts.

The United States has washed its hands of its drug barons—-and laundered their money. All guilt is in the offer, none in the demand. It is easier—-and more Pharisaical—-to militarize Bolivia than to militarize the Bronx."

▬Carlos Fuentes, A New Time for Mexico, 1996

The ABCs of money laundering.

Special Report: Documents allege HSBC money-laundering lapses

UN crime chief: Was the bailout the largest drug money laundering operation in history?

The cycle of terror and intervention

This page is in Spanish. Here is translated excerpt:
"...other facts reveal that the United States intervenes in other ways in Mexico:
  • Some sources state that 13,000 guns are introduced every year to Mexico. [...]
  • The fact that major commanders of the Zetas, who, prior to desert the Mexican Army have been trained in counterinsurgency tactics at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, by the U.S. Army.
  • Continuous raids on Mexican territory, especially in Ciudad Juarez, [...]
  • The de facto operation of the Zetas as a kind of casual immigration police, "a migration of death" to contain and regulate the flow of migrants wickedly toward Central America. [...]
  • Cartel kingpins...are of American nationality. Furthermore, the presence and operating with impunity in hundreds of Mexican drug traffickers in the cities of that country. The rapid arrest of 600 of them after the assassination of U.S. agent Jaime Zapata in San Luis Potosi merely reveal that in America there is a broad-based operational drug is tolerated until they violate certain rules.

Bi-national war where one country makes the decisions and the other pays the price” is the way Quintana begins. He goes on to make the case that the United States incites crises in countries like Mexico so that it can intervene into the internal politics of the country. The reason the United States “perpetrates terror, provokes terror and reacts against terror” is in order to “maintain its very weakened hegemony in the region.”

“The cycle of intervention-terror-intervention is the only way to keep us following the doctrine of the decadent empire.,” Quintana continues. “Against this the Mexican government has responded as we suspected: slowly and fearfully.


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