Outside of crimes of passion—for example, murder committed in a jealous rage—criminals, criminal organizations, kleptocrats, and some businesses and corporations are motivated by greed. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, the criminal manifestations of unchecked avarice impact all of us: politically, socially, economically, and culturally. Transnational crime affects our individual and collective security.
Unfortunately, the United States is the easiest place in the world to set up an anonymous shell company. It can be done online in a few minutes and for minimal cost, with no requirement that those who actually own or control the company disclose their ownership. Shell companies can also be registered to someone who provides his or her identity for a fee, known as a nominee, who can be a lawyer, accountant, another person connected to the real owner, or even another company or trust. As a former Treasury special agent, I can attest that the establishment of multiple “layers” where the true beneficiary is not known makes it extremely difficult to follow the criminal money trail.
The president will now declare what many of us experience first hand: The opioid epidemic is a national emergency.
Frankly, with as many as 59,000 deaths in 2016, there doesn’t seem to be any other possible description.
So many dedicated people in cities and towns, faith communities and schools, families and hospitals are fighting to save lives and help people escape addiction.
But there are also a lot of people working to keep illegal opioids on the streets.
With 2.6 million opioid addicts in the United States, the scale of drug-running operations is immense, as are the profits. It’s not a mystery why the cartels build these operations; they do it for the money, and there is a lot of money to be had.
Worldwide anti-money laundering efforts are currently just a decimal point away from total failure, according to this August 2017 report published by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT Coalition).
Authored by former Treasury Special Agent John Cassara, an internationally renown expert on financial crime, the study details the near failure of current efforts to combat money laundering and the rationale for comprehensive reform.
Opioid deaths now exceed those from motor vehicle accidents. It’s clear we need to do more. Fair Share Education Fund’s latest report, “Anonymity Overdose,” connects opioid trafficking and the subsequent crisis with the activities of anonymous shell companies – companies formed with no way of knowing who is actually in charge. Because they shield the owners from accountability, anonymous shell companies are a common tool for disguising criminal activity and laundering money, and are also at heart of the Panama Papers.