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Leveraging Technology: From Laundering to Industrial-Scale Operations

While there are many ways criminals can use tools to hide and move funds, creativity never ceases to impress.

Gambling allows funds to flow from cash to ledger. Online, this activity can be scaled.

“By channeling criminal money through a gambling platform, you obscure the origin of the money,” said Noortje Boere, a specialist at the Anti Money Laundering Centre, a Netherlands-based think tank.

Another technology helps hide the funds’ origin before they are deposited in an online casino bank account.

“The cryptocurrency market is where suspicious transactions can enter, and these are later lost,” Mirlis Reyes Salarichs, professor at the Inter-American Defense College, told SIGNAL Media in an interview.

Once funds are onboarded into the cash that will be gambled, criminals can proceed in three ways.

They can extract the funds without betting, deliberately lose to an accomplice who will have won clean proceeds, and pay for other transaction expenses directly from the online casino funds, according to Boere.

“Online casinos are an easy way to hide money because two illicit gamblers play, and any proceedings from either gambler helps to launder money,” said Reyes Salarichs. Robots can play poker among themselves, according to Reyes Salarichs, and would not need human intervention. Several avatars, controlled by complex algorithms, can do the work while criminals seek more creative ways to evade law enforcement.







One way to spot a red flag is by looking at transactions from digital assets.

“When you are looking at any transaction type on bitcoin or another cryptocurrency to physical currency that is already suspicious, especially because of the amount of money, the amount is a red flag,” Reyes Salarichs said.

Regulations vary widely among different jurisdictions, and some are more accommodating than others in terms of what is considered a transaction of interest to authorities.

Still, transactions as small as $2,000 can potentially raise suspicions in gambling, according to Maltese law.

But smart use of robots and avatars by criminals could perform thousands of deals that could stay well below the interest thresholds of law enforcement.