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Lake County state’s attorney announced a new Financial Crimes Unit to deal with money laundering, identity theft, credit card fraud, and terrorist financing.
The state’s attorney stated their office is creating a new department of the Financial Crimes Unit to combat various crimes and secure the integrity of the state’s economy. It will target the different types of financial crimes and monitor the AML screening of businesses. According to the attorney, the crime unit also supervises financial institutes and their measures of customer onboarding to combat money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office also claimed that the newly approved county budget by the board would “significantly reinforce” public safety measures. The state’s attorney, Eric Rinehart, stated, “the new county budget invests in vital public safety needs and addresses burgeoning financial crimes committed against Lake County residents. I want to personally thank the Lake County Board for backing these public safety efforts.”
The new budget for the state’s attorney’s office funds victim experts, a trial attorney in the Special Victims Unit, and robust technological advancements associated with the growing scams through digital platforms. Assistant State’s Attorney, Kevin Berrill, added the newly established Financial Crimes Unit will oversee public education initiatives and improve law enforcement training about investigating these intricate crimes. Berrill stated, “this new unit will help protect vulnerable Lake County residents susceptible to financial exploitation due to age or disability. Additionally, our work will help safeguard the local business community which also may be at risk of corporate fraud.”
According to the state’s attorney’s office, the new County budget raised $1.6 million and strengthened the agency’s attorney personnel for its newly established violent crimes section. Rinehart stated, “in 2021, the County Board funded a Violent Crimes Unit through the federally funded American Rescue Plan Act, and we have subsequently won millions of dollars in grants to support this unit. But this year, our office needed to preserve and invest in our office’s workforce of attorneys by permanently funding salary increases for our starting attorneys to be competitive with our neighbours in Kane, McHenry, and Cook Counties, thus keeping Lake County attorneys in Lake County.”