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Fintrac Warns Casinos of Gamers Paying with Bank Drafts

Canada’s anti-money laundering agency is warning casinos to be cautious of customers who pay for their gaming with their bank drafts. Bank drafts are becoming the latest method for criminals to disguise dirty money. 

FINTRAC, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canda, issued an operational alert on December 10 that cash is not being favored anymore in illegal casino transactions due to excessive media and government scrutiny.

Instead of cash, criminals are choosing bank drafts for their liquidity and quasi-anonymity. According to the Fintrac director, Nada Semaan, professional money launderers are constantly changing their methods. 

“They will always be looking at different ways to do it, and our job is to be a step ahead of them and figure that out. We can’t stop everybody, but we are working extremely hard on this and we are committed to doing more.”

Fintrac tries to identify and investigate the cash linked to terrorism and money laundering by going through huge piles of information annually from banks, securities dealers, insurance companies, money service businesses, casinos, real estate brokers and many others. 

The latest alert published by Fintrac is a part of Project Athena, an RCMP-led public-private partnership aimed at disrupting money-laundering activity in British Columbia and across Canada. This project continues to upgrade previous initiatives targeting the fentanyl trade, romance fraud, and human trafficking. 

The operational alert and a list of signs that dirty money is being washed using casinos were generated through the analysis of Fintrac’s financial intelligence in collaboration with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit in British Columbia.

Fintrac suspects that most people involved in dubious casino-related transactions were money mules who moved crime profits, consciously or unconsciously, on behalf of a money launderer.

According to the alert, the first type commonly reported their occupation as “student” or simply “unemployed”. The second type of money mule often reported their occupation as “homemaker”. 

Fintrac is notifying casinos to examine patrons who:

— Deposit a high volume of bank drafts to a gaming-fund account or who regularly use bank drafts as a form of gaming buy-in;

— Are accompanied to a casino by someone subject to a gaming ban;

— Live in a jurisdiction subject to currency-control restrictions or sanctions and have no local ties to family or businesses.