Robin red-handed

In a training session earlier this week, we had some lively discussions around the reporting of attempted crime – attempted fraud, attempted money laundering, attempted tax evasion.  Is a SAR suitable or not, we debated, given that SARs (and their cousins, disclosures) are designed for reporting suspected laundering of the proceeds of crime, and if the crime is only attempted (rather than successful) there are no proceeds, ergo no laundering, ergo no SAR.  (Great word, ergo.)  The conclusion we reached is that MLROs would probably like to receive reports of attempted crime, and that they would rather receive a SAR than nothing, even if it’s not quite the right format.  And actually I know plenty of MLROs who instruct their staff to report even attempted money laundering through the SAR route as a matter of course, being of the view that SARs are for reporting money laundering at any stage – whether attempted or successful, future, past or current.

And this reminded me of something I was told years ago by the FIU of a small jurisdiction.  They said that they liked to receive disclosures about attempted crime (particularly money laundering, but they were happy with fraud too) as it meant that they could warn others in their jurisdiction about the attempt.  They called them “round robin warnings”.  This term was familiar to me: when I was a student I had a holiday job in C&A (I can imagine how envious you are: the bilious grey uniform was 100% polyester, and we got static shocks from the metal on the tills), and we used a similar system.  If we spotted a shoplifter lurking on the premises, we would call our contact at M&S and warn them (“Look out for a tall chap in jeans and a blue bomber jacket, Afro hairdo and Doc Martens [be fair: this was the 1980s] – he’s pilfering from ladies’ evening-wear”); they would then call Woolies, who would call Bentalls – and so on until all the major shops in town were alerted.  And the FIU said that they did something rather like this, to warn local financial services firms about a particular approach or story that was doing the rounds.  I wonder whether it still happens and, if not, why not.

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6 Responses to Robin red-handed

  1. Claire says:

    I just had to stop by to tell you I had a holiday job at Leonidas – the Belgian chocolates 🙂 And yes, we could taste them!

  2. There is no justice in the world!!! I get a manky plastic uniform, and you get unlimited chocolate! Although, to be fair, if Leonidas had taken me on, they might have seen their profits decrease somewhat….

  3. Kay says:

    When i worked in their jurisdiction, City of London police actively encouraged such reporting and did have a round robin procedure for cases deemed large enough to warrant it, I assume they still do.

    However, under the Fraud Act 2006, the wording is such that a person has to be proved to have acted dishonestly with the INTENT of causing a gain or a loss, so one could argue that ‘attempted’ fraud comes under that guise anyway? And if someone is ‘attempting’ to launder money, then they must by definition be in possession of the proceeds of crime, so again, by definition, they have already committed an offence? We certainly had it written into our manuals that all attempts successful or not were to be reported.

    And on the subject of holiday jobs… mine was in the dessert section of a very busy pub. Quite often i would ‘accidentally’ make up an extra dessert which would be left lonely and needing to be eaten at the end of the night (i was only 14 and didn’t know better then).. however, this probably made ME in possession of the proceeds of crime as this was clearly theft (oh the shame) so if SOCA wish to put in place a confiscation order, i will quite happily allow them to take a section from each thigh. Tis only fair.

  4. Kay, I’m still giggling!
    And I really like your middle paragraph arguments about attempting being bad enough anyway – I will memorise and use, as if I had thought of them myself.
    Let me know if the boys from SOCA/NCA do turn up to collect…
    Best wishes from Susan

  5. Kay says:

    Upon closer review of the finer points of the Fraud Act, you also have sections 6 & 7 which are supporting offences of being in possession of (sec 6) or the making or supplying of (sec 7) articles for the use of fraud, and one would assume that if someone is making a decent attempt at fraud, they would most probably fall foul of these as well, so report away!!!

    I’m awaiting that knock on my door, and when it comes i’ll most likely own up to the snaffled hotwings from my KFC days and all the food i’ve ever pinched out of my mums fridge as well…. i’ll be a size eight, with a clear conscience 🙂

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