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Fact Or Fiction: US Treasury 'Agents' Go Undercover Posing As Russian Businessmen

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

This one is almost too sensational to be real. Almost.

I’ve written to you before about the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency of the US Treasury Department that chases around people they suspect of committing financial crimes.

Unfortunately, their definition of ‘financial crime’ is not the same as our definition of ‘financial crime’.

FinCEN is completely unconcerned, for example, with the likes of Jon Corzine, who was at the helm of MF Global as it committed some of the worst financial fraud in history.

FinCEN has also not investigated any major US bank executives for their part in manipulating commodity prices or selling out customers to high frequency traders.

Nor have they raised an eyebrow at ratings agencies for gross negligence in slapping AAA ratings on toxic debt securities (which played a key role in destabilizing the banking system.)

Nay. To FinCEN, these are all trivial issues. Instead, the agency has an unhealthy obsession with rooting out little guys they think might have committed victimless crimes.

One of their favorite victimless crimes is failure to file ‘suspicious activity reports (SARs)’; this is a form that the US government demands of essentially any business that deals with paper money.

Banks. Brokers. Payday loan dealers. Remittance businesses (like Western Union). Even casinos.

In other words, the government demands all these organizations to be its unpaid spies. They all have quotas. And if any should fail to file a SAR, they’ll receive a visit from FinCEN.

Let me put this more clearly: even if a banker doesn’t feel like anything suspicious has happened, s/he is still required to file a minimum quota of SARs.

If you walk into a bank and say or do anything that’s slightly out of the ordinary, or simply different than the rest of the bank’s customers, chances are they’ll file a SAR.

FinCEN’s statistics show, in fact, that there has been a surge of SARs filed on bank customers who have conducted any Bitcoin-related transaction (i.e. transferring funds from a bank account to CoinDesk).

I used to know a broker who thought this requirement absurd and immoral. And in order to save his clients’ privacy, he would file all the SARs against himself.

But such values are unfortunately rare. Most bankers, brokers, etc. simply accept the duty of being an unpaid government spy. They’ll smile to your face and then file a SAR because you had the audacity to do something different.

I remember one FinCEN case in which they went after a remittance business in Chicago; the proprietor had been in business for decades and knew each of his customers personally.

He knew their circumstances, what they were doing, who they were sending the money to, etc. Many had even become personal friends. So he didn’t file any of the reports. FinCEN threw the book at him and ran the poor chap out of business. Totally disgusting.

But now comes a new case that takes the cake.

A few days ago, FinCEN enthusiastically announced that they had been working on a CRIMINAL investigation against a casino based in the Western Pacific… thousands of miles from US shores.

FinCEN had apparently sent some of its agents undercover to the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino posing as hard-gambling, wealthy Russian businessmen.

These undercover agents indicated that they wanted to bring in large amounts of cash to gamble at the casino, and expressly requested that the casino not report the currency transactions.

The casino agreed. After all, why would an offshore casino bother reporting anything about Russian nationals to the US government anyhow?

Why indeed?

But such logic does not factor into FinCEN’s motivation. So they slammed the casino’s VIP Services Manager (a guy who’s not even a US person) for not filing any SARs.

There’s so many things wrong with this it’s hard to know where to begin.

Jon Corzine (of MF Global) walks the streets a free man.

Yet FinCEN is wasting taxpayer resources sending undercover agents to entrap some offshore casino, and they act as if they’ve infiltrated a major terrorist organization.

This is practically secret police stuff… all because a non-US person working overseas didn’t file a meaningless report on Russian businessmen.

Amid all the debt, graft, and incompetence that’s so prevalent today in government, this is another sad testament to the direction that things are headed.

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Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:11 | 5137555 Rican
Rican's picture

Death throes of a dying empire.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:19 | 5137586 X.inf.capt
X.inf.capt's picture

i have to agree...

and it makes me sad...

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:21 | 5137589 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Yeah, but how good were the hookers these guys most likely had as part of their taxpayer funded charade?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:37 | 5137639 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

I am certain that the op cost well over the $5000 they fined the guy.  What a bunch of shit.  



It is a rhetorical question but are we really that stupid?

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:44 | 5137656 r00t61
r00t61's picture

"When an empire fears for its survival, its time has already passed."

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:54 | 5137709 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Atributable to whom exactly?

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:50 | 5137889 Sashko89
Sashko89's picture

Wow, no comment... but this "no comment, comment"... this is just a plain out... wow... no further comment'. Does hollywood run this agency lol?

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 17:07 | 5137954 max2205
max2205's picture

Are we back to bribing govt officials like the 1900's.......

Oh wait

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:12 | 5137780 Lea
Lea's picture

BlindMonkey, it's not a matter of costs, it's a matter of Power And Control Over THE FRIGGIN' WHOLE OF THE UNIVERSE.

It's also called hubris or in medical terms, paranoid psychosis. Alternate name for the ailment: tinfoil-hat behavior. Plain raving loony also works.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:40 | 5137869 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Clearly I understand the power and control aspect. You can put a $60k cop on every street to ensure that J-walkers are shot in the head, but that doesn't make it cost-benefit effective.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:56 | 5137913 Pie rre
Pie rre's picture

Closer to 90K before benefits.  They are no longer cops but CEOs of abuse.

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 02:46 | 5139466 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I looked at their badges. It says, "Serve and Protect."

What I did not understand was that it meant "Server and Protect...the State."

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 18:08 | 5138189 Dugald
Dugald's picture

but that doesn't make it cost-benefit effective.

Depends on who is getting shot!!!

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:23 | 5137599 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

One of the interesting things about SAR's is that upon submittance to FinCEN an interagency report is automatically sent to the FBI. The FBI then conducts a perfunctory investigation to determine if a more detailed analysis is required. As a bank customer you are then expected to prove the transactions in question are legitimate or risk an account freeze or seizure.

I know this from experience.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:41 | 5137642 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

I am sure that these guys will eventually be as corrupt at the fellas that manage the printing presses of the USD.  


In the meantime, I am looking at them as the saviours of the world.  There is no way that the status quo can continue.  It is just too onerous.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:08 | 5137771 Jayda1850
Jayda1850's picture

I worked as a bank teller in my late teens and early twenties and we were told when to fill out a SAR. Now knowing the repercussions of filing these reports, it is a scary thought that most bank tellers filling out these reports are fresh out of high school.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:15 | 5137799 Chief Wonder Bread
Chief Wonder Bread's picture

If there's a quota system on SARs, then you can be sure that there's a follow-up quota system on prosecutions.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:08 | 5137772 toady
toady's picture

"This is practically secret police stuff… all because a non-US person working overseas didn’t file a meaningless report on Russian businessmen."

I doubt the reports are "meaningless" as the author contends, and as your experience shows.

I contend that these reports are .govs way of getting their greasy fingers into everyones business.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 18:15 | 5138207 Dugald
Dugald's picture


How strange, reading these posts is having an odd effect.....the word GESTAPO keeps crossing my mind......

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:25 | 5137605 Bossman1967
Bossman1967's picture

Has anyone noticed the dollar at 82.54 up.22 cents today. Very confusing to me considering all the collapse of the dollar but up from 77 to 82.54 in month and half. Can we imagine where gold and silver opens tonight. What a trip so I guess deflation is happening but my prices going up? Any help here yall?

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:50 | 5137695 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

Don't expect a blatantly corrupt system, no longer even trying to hide the corruption, to exhibit any kind of logical consistency.  The $ is up because it benefits the owners of the system.  Food prices are up but there is no inflation because that myth is useful to the ongoing perpetration of the wealth transfer scheme that's in place.  The market is up because the 'economy is better' and 'the economy is better' in spite of all evidence to the contrary because that justifies the rising market. 

Do not expect truth or consistency from a system dedicated to perpetrating convenient lies in support of its agenda.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:43 | 5137651 Payne
Payne's picture

When everything is suspicious nothing is actually actionable.  Investigational suicide if you were running an investigation but we only have Witch Hunts here !  Looks like a Witch, burn him.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:36 | 5137854 Consuelo
Consuelo's picture

Took the words right outta my head Rican.   Absolutely agree.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 17:28 | 5138022 kill switch
kill switch's picture

This is getting ridiculous, pretty soon they'll be wearing fucking Lamp Shades...

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 19:31 | 5138444 doctor10
doctor10's picture

sounds like a pretty good "junket" to me!!

Wonder how much gambling they "had" to do with TP dollars to "pass themselves off" as "Russian businessmen"?

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 20:31 | 5138621 jez
jez's picture

doctor10: I was wondering about their Russian language skills too. It would have been great if someone on the casino staff had been able to gabble a fast stream of Russian at them, finishing with what was obviously a question. Then silence. That might have crashed the whole fabulous plot.

Perhaps Fincen has some staff of Russian heritage. But even if you've got the genes and a suitable surname, if you've lived in the US all your life then you are not going to behave like a Russian. All sorts of things are going to give you away, to anybody who has his eyes open.

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 02:51 | 5139470 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

The flip side is you are speaking to Chinese who are probably not particularly skilled at English or Russian in a business that is dedicated to server their customers. Chinese, by culture will probably agree with most anything you ask short of something like murder (short of being actual criminals). Asking them to not report on Russian nationals to an American government seems pretty reasonable. I am guessing they would also not report them to Malaysia, S. Africa or Brazil even if they do come in with American dollars.

I would probably babble at something that sounds like Russian but means nothing (like Jerry Lewis speaking faux-French) and see if they just nodded their heads, as well.

The American tentacles are reaching a bit too far for my tastes, even as an American. The question is "Why?". What is so important that we spend large sums and efforts to track "free" citizens of the USA and all their cash?

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:18 | 5137570 ThroxxOfVron
ThroxxOfVron's picture

Sounds like a rather expensive fishing expedition/taxpayer paid junket.

I wonder how much was spent out of petty cash on hookers and blow on this trip.

I wonder how many trips to get laid and wasted at a fancy casino resort hotel the other side of the world are taken by these useless fucking bureaucrats with expense accounts we have to pay...

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:36 | 5137637 mt paul
mt paul's picture

hope their blow , was cut to less than  10 %

and their hookers ,probably had dicks

bigger than their own ..

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:42 | 5137648 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

If god has a sense of humor, the agents will have contracted AIDS.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 17:14 | 5137981 Oldrepublic
Oldrepublic's picture

This sounds like the recent book, A kidnapping in Milan (2010),about the CIA's abduction of an Egyptian living in Milan and his rendition to Egypt. Incidentally this is a first rate book!

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:18 | 5137577 Tursas
Tursas's picture

Mao Tsedong expressed this all the simplest possible way: the justice comes from the barrel of a gun!

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:35 | 5137632 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

The Empire grows weaker by the week; US policy in better days would be to bomb the casino from 35K feet, then pay US firms to rebuild it, along with new schools and vaccinations for all.

When Leviathan dies, try to be sure you're not under it

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 08:53 | 5139943 N2OJoe
N2OJoe's picture

He also said all these peasants don't need names... or food.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:39 | 5137640 bonin006
bonin006's picture

Mao was more honest than that. He said  "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun"


Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:43 | 5137654 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

If I remember my history correctly, the Scottish Enlightment says differently.  They factually concluded that all power comes at the TAP of a BARREL of spirits.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:19 | 5137581 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

The U.S.A. is suffering from a severe case of tragic hubris.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:48 | 5137683 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

I watched a rather bad Liam Nissen movie last night called "non-stop"  It is about a shit-bag cop that gets canned and finds a job as an air marshall riding planes all over the world.  He is setup and becomes a heroic, but deeply flawed, figure that saves the day.


In reality, I doubt that too many of these cops have a shread of descency.  Every last one of them saw this duty assignment as a fat-ass junket and blew the cock of the captain to be the guys that got to play this one out.  

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:13 | 5137790 Chief Wonder Bread
Chief Wonder Bread's picture

-- The U.S.A. is suffering from a severe case of tragic hubris.

The bullying works until it doesn't.

Then on some otherwise unremarkable occasion a kid remarks that the emperor is dancing Naked at which point everybody heads for the exits in one mad desperate rush.

This is irrational but it describes Human Nature.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:21 | 5137594 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

The uneployables that even temp agencies won't hire are working for US gov.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:21 | 5137596 farmboy
farmboy's picture

Same stuff like FATCA, Foreign managers must report US citizens.

Txs land of the free :)

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 17:23 | 5138002 Oldrepublic
Oldrepublic's picture

FATCA, is making banking staff around the world treat potential American customers who wish to open bank accounts as if they had leprosy or Ebola

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:29 | 5137617 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

And here is a declassified video on how the TSA's dirty bomb detectors work.


Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:34 | 5137631 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

USSA getting desperate and insecure. Hope Ruskies push out all Amerikan Corp, Only Amerikans will yeild to the Chain Stores and chant USA USA .


Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:40 | 5137644 DeusHedge
DeusHedge's picture

The treasury hasn't been doing shit, and in fact shouldn't be since the invention of the federal reserve. This, people, isn't the treasury department of a major coporation. This is pravda.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:46 | 5137671 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Headline should be: "This is how bankrupt, morally and financially, the DC US is."

An American, not US subject.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:58 | 5137733 Ban KKiller
Ban KKiller's picture

Can't go after the ruling fascist oligarchy after all...

Small fry here we come! 

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:00 | 5137737 agent default
agent default's picture

Is there anything too low for the US government?

On a serious note, it is about time the world saw the US for what it is and do its best to isolate was has become a rogue state on so many levels that I have lost count. 

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:00 | 5137741 Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand's picture

Just when you think the assholes can't sink any lower or get more stupid, they pop out of their sink holes with another brilliant plan. Forget ISIS lets go do this plan.

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 16:06 | 5137763 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

America will sacrifice very many in the name of so called we are the greatest nation and sheeples will gladly signup. Can;t get choked up by Yellow Ribbons and Caskets. 

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