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Crime and prevention: a Treasury viewpoint

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1 Author(s)
S. E. Morris ; Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, US Dept. of the Treasury, USA

New technologies have emerged that have the potential to change many fundamental principles associated with a cash oriented society-indeed, the whole way we conduct all kinds of financial transactions and operate all payment systems. As things stand, law enforcement agencies around the world recognize that “following the money” leads to the top of criminal organizations. Criminals have to move funds through the financial system to hide and use the proceeds of their crimes. Currency is anonymous, but it is difficult to hide and transport in large amounts. New electronic payment systems may well alter this. The speed that makes these systems efficient and the anonymity that makes them secure are desirable characteristics to both the public and law enforcement agencies. Yet the same characteristics make these systems equally attractive to those who seek to use them for illicit purpose. Because of these potential vulnerabilities, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a branch of the US Department of the Treasury, has been meeting with developers of advanced electronic payment systems, our law enforcement and regulatory partners in the United States and abroad, and representatives of the financial services industry to examine how criminals might use these new systems to move and launder the proceeds of their illegal activities

Published in:

IEEE Spectrum  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 2 )