Gotham Cable News

June 27, 2008

Major Crimes Unit's Money Laundering Probe Examines Shadowy Network

GCN has learned that Jim Gordon's Major Crimes Unit (MCU) is making gains in unraveling a hidden network of money laundering fronts that are crucial to the workings of organized crime in Gotham.

Dry cleaning businesses, cash-only restaurants, neighborhood banks, and nightclubs are some of the businesses rumored to be on Gordon's hit list.

Collin Baisley, lead financial crimes investigator for the MCU, explained, "We take a good look at small to mid-sized business doing a lot of cash transactions whose receipts show more cash flow than their foot traffic would indicate."

Baisley says that not all the work is in-office. "I have one team dedicated to financial research, while a street team keeps tabs of the businesses' day-to-day activities to get a sense of their true capacity."

The department is not yet offering specifics on targeted businesses.

"It would be premature to offer the public any information on this investigation," Baisley added. "Money laundering is serious business and can be difficult to prosecute. We're taking a very cautious approach to this. You don't want to topple a house of cards until you know what's at the bottom."

Since money laundering is one of the most complicated of financial crimes, GCN asked financial crime consultant Tabitha Goodwright to explain.

"Typically in a complex money laundering situation, small businesses serve as fronts by reporting more income than they actually take in, usually in the form of cash transactions," Goodwright said.

"This income is then legally reported and funneled up to one, larger entity for a final scrubbing through the world's financial markets. It's all about taking money that was earned illegally and making it appear as legitimate revenue."

Ms. Goodwright suggested that the businesses that sit below the top entity are usually located in less-visible neighborhoods and poverty-stricken areas that don't get a lot of scrutiny. "They're shadow networks, really. The best ones are practically invisible."

Jim Gordon has assured GCN that he will hold a press conference to discuss the investigation at "an appropriate time in the future."