The money laundering conviction last week, in Isleworth Crown Court, of Jean Rogerson, an 83-year old woman said to be living on benefits, for depositing more than £122,000 in her bank account in a single day, reveals an aspect of money laundering that can be utilised, by bank frontline staff, to identify laundrymen on a real-time basis.
Money launderers, like the Defendant in this case, are sometimes tasked to place notes into the financial system that may soon either be obsolete, or will become of such high profile that their placement itself could trigger a Suspicious Activity Report. Ms. Rogerson was depositing cash that reportedly consisted of mainly £20 banknotes bearing the image of English composer Edward Elgar. The notes were then due to be withdrawn from circulation in less than two months, after which time only the Bank of England was obligated to redeem them*; acceptance was them only optional at commercial banks.
The notes had most likely been the proceeds of crime, and held in storage for some time, outside the banking system, to evade law enforcement detection. Since they were being replaced with ones containing more advanced anti-counterfeiting features, the old ones were about to expire.
That is where Ms. Rogerson came in; she reportedly stated, in response to to the bankers' query as to Source of Funds, "they give me the money, and give it to them back." It was anticipated that she would be withdrawing the funds in current notes.
If you have read my article, Watch for Money Launderers depositing Old Series US$100 Notes**, you know that the new US$100 note, when released sometime next year, will make the old, pre-1990 and older series notes extremely visible when placed for deposit at financial institutions. I have advised that money launderers should be now moving those old notes into bank accounts, and taking out the funds in newer series notes, for probable storage. Have you seen any lately, in large numbers ?
Therefore, always be conscious of developments in local currency; when new issues are due to come out, when old series are to be retired, and when design changes make the old notes a curiosity, and raising the risk that bankers may enquire further, or raise suspicions. Money launderers always want to blend in with the legitimate customers, and they will seek to rapidly discard notes which could raise attention in the future; Watch for them.