From the Editor

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One of my hobbies is shopping (I know many of you are thinking — well of course — you are a woman); however, not all women like to shop in the sense of actually going to a shopping mall, battling crowds and browsing for sales. In fact, the whole experience of shopping has changed in the last decade. Many of my friends do all their shopping online and never once enter a brick and mortar store. All this led me to consider how vigilant each of us should be against the financial crime criminals that are lurking around every corner — or should I say browser — to steal our identities or to commit fraud.

The lead article Red-handed (page 38) teaches us the importance of preparedness and how-to stay one-step ahead of the criminal. Criminals are motivated and if we want to win the fight against financial crime we must be more prepared than our opponent.

The second headline article Attack of the Synthetics (page 24) explores a new way financial criminals are trying to get the upper hand without even needing a real person, instead they have taken the road less travelled and created a synthetic identity. What can we do as financial crime prevention professionals to thwart these synthetic identities from exploiting financial institutions? Learn the steps you should take and what you should be looking for when faced with a possible synthetic identity attack.

This special edition of ACAMS Today also contains three must-read interviews with women in both the public and private sectors: Karen O’Brien, owner of Global Compliance Solutions; Deborah Morissey, assistant special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Miami; and Lisa Grigg, director of Fraud Investigations Group in the Global Financial Crimes Compliance Division at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

In the article, How valuable is your risk assessment? the authors outline the importance of risk assessments and how a proper risk assessment can aid the law enforcement community to effectively detect, investigate and prosecute criminal activity.

Three card monte of AML discusses what steps you can take to become a focused investigator and not become confused by the sleight of hand of the financial criminal. In some games, it is better to be a spectator and not a player.

The section Aspects of Asia details an interesting case where the vigilance of a teller helped law enforcement and the financial institution conduct a strong investigation against an elaborate Ponzi scheme conducted by Dream Company. Learn the investigative techniques applied in this case and what led to the discovery of the Ponzi scheme.

Also, voting for the ACAMS recognition awards has started. Make sure you send your nomination for your favorite ACAMS Today article from 2012 to by July 31st. The winner will be announced at the ACAMS 12th Annual AML & Financial Crime Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information about the ACAMS awards visit

You will be happy to know that as I write this article I have just purchased (yes, online) a lovely pink wallet that promises to protect my identity by incorporating a shielding technology that blocks radio waves from the would be criminals wishing to steal the valuable information that my wallet may contain. Let’s hope it lives up to its description. 

Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS

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