One of my fondest memories of growing up in a small town was the service projects and community collaborations that took place to further a common goal of improving the town or enriching someone’s life. My mom used to take me to quilt-tying parties. This is where a bunch of people get together, have a potluck and work on tying quilts laid out on quilt frames. The goal was to finish the quilts during the party and then gift them to someone in need. I did not realize it then, but these quilting parties taught me the importance of collaboration—working together to achieve a common goal. I attended many such events during my formative years and I learned that by working together, we could accomplish even more.
Unfortunately, collaboration can also be used for nefarious purposes as described by the authors of the headline article, “Detecting and Reporting Organized Retail Crime,” where professional organized theft groups (OTGs) “[work] together to steal for profit” to finance their criminal activity. The article outlines that organized retail crime (ORC) “is part of an organized scheme with multiple actors to defraud retailers or steal products for resale elsewhere.” This type of organized scheme takes collaboration and as discussed in the article, ORC benefits from the collaboration of OTGs, who may even have a complex business hierarchy. But collaboration works both ways. As stated in the article, “FIs play a key role in combating ORC and dissolving OTG rings,” but so do the “public-private partnership [such as ACAMS and HSI] and information sharing channels between retailers, LE and FIs.” By working together, strides in thwarting ORC can be made.
I always look forward to working on the law enforcement edition with my editorial team. The ACAMS Today’s 12th Law Enforcement edition is a prime example of the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors in halting the progression of financial crime. The collaboration that exists between the public and private sectors is in full display in this edition’s article lineup. The second headline, “DNA and the BSA,” explores the need for investigative training at the lower level of investigation. As specified by the author, Steve Gurdak, “investigators will find that they have failed to follow the money too often but following the money has rarely failed an investigation.”
Other notable articles in this edition emphasize the importance of collaboration. One such article addresses the need for more public-private partnerships when combating human trafficking (HT) and how these partnerships can lead to a better insight into HT laws and policies. As expressed by the author, Barbara Martinez, “Do not wait for opportunities to collaborate. Be proactive!” Also, read about public-private information sharing partnerships in South Africa and how crypto fraud can be fought with a three-pronged approach that incorporates regulatory bodies, LE and FIs working together.
Another example of how collaboration helped start an outstanding partnership between the public and private sectors can be found in the interview with Peter Warrack and how he was instrumental in beginning Project Protect, which led to increased awareness and reporting of HT in Canada.
ACAMS Today is a strong proponent of collaboration among the private and public sectors and also the importance of collaboration among anti-financial crime professionals. As such, we would like to remind you to please submit your votes for the 2022 ACAMS Today Article of the Year. These articles have myriad partnership examples. Visit the ACAMS Awards page for more information.
I hope we can all continue to “labor together” in the fight against financial crime and remember Martinez’s words to “be proactive” and look for opportunities to piece together and tie the knots where needed through partnerships.
Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS
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