GAO Report Highlights Federal Response to Trafficking, Money Laundering

A recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office highlights the strategies and techniques used by criminal groups to engage in trafficking and money laundering, as well as efforts by the federal government to combat these illegal activities. The report was issued as required by the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

The report describes how criminal groups move illicit goods and launder money across borders, using bulk cash smuggling, “funnel” accounts, gold and other high-value assets, and real-estate purchases, among other techniques. The report—which reflects input from the American Bankers Association and several ABA members—also discusses how detailed case studies would help financial institutions’ ability to identify or report information useful for law enforcement investigations.

Additionally, the report describes how information sharing through the 314(b) program could be improved with clearer expectations and standards around response times for requests from other institutions or around what information can be shared.