Follow the Money: The Treasury Department’s Century-Long War on the Mob | Part 1
For a century, “follow the money” has been an essential mantra for law enforcement agencies probing organized crime. In this four-part lecture series, Paul Camacho, a retired IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, charts the Treasury Department’s historic efforts to take down Mob bosses and corrupt public officials.
Part 1: 1919 to 1933 – Treasury uses new weapon against the Mob
Prohibition and a culture of corruption were the great incubators of organized crime. With few laws on the books to effectively deal with the lawlessness, the Treasury Department’s Intelligence Unit rolled out, via the Al Capone tax case, a powerful new weapon to bring down Mob bosses and their elected cronies.
Part 2: 1934 to 1939 – Treasury tackles racketeers on multiple fronts
In the wake of Prohibition, mobsters learned from the mistakes of fallen kingpins and covered their financial dealings with a veneer of legitimacy and complexity. Treasury Secretary Henry J. Morgenthau and Intelligence Unit chief Elmer Irey joined forces to lift the veil on these schemes, including counterfeiting and the smuggling of illegal narcotics.
Part 3: 1940 to 1945 – Treasury targets the wartime rackets
The wartime economy created almost Prohibition-like opportunities for racketeers in the black market. Treasury agents went after war profiteers, including counterfeiters of currency and war bonds and rationing stamps. The Nazis were another target, as they were trying to launder money in the United States.
Part 4: 1946 to 1955 – Treasury follows the money in a new age
In the postwar era, federal law enforcement faced new challenges. President Harry Truman replaced Treasury’s seasoned law enforcers with political friends. Meanwhile, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s focus on Communism blinded him to the emergence of a national crime syndicate. But the spirit of Morgenthau and Irey prevailed, as the power of following the money continued to put crime bosses behind bars.
Paul Camacho is the Vice President of Anti-Money Laundering Compliance for Station Casinos. Paul played an integral role in the development of the American Gaming Association (AGA) best practices for Anti-Money Laundering compliance. Several of his articles on money laundering and financial crimes have appeared in ACAMSTODAY, a leading worldwide Anti-Money laundering trade magazine. Paul has advised the Department of Justice, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Federal Bureau of Investigations and foreign governments on the prevention of casino money laundering. Prior to his retirement, Paul served as the Special Agent in Charge for the Las Vegas Field Office of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS CI) directing investigations of all IRS CI special agents in Utah and Nevada. Over the course of his career in IRS CI, Paul has overseen sophisticated investigations involving drug trade organizations, embezzlement, large scale fraud schemes, money laundering, offshore abusive schemes, prostitution, public corruption, tax evasion and terrorist financing. As the Special Agent in Charge, Paul spearheaded an outreach initiative with the Las Vegas gaming industry that received noteworthy media attention and fostered strong working relations between casinos and law enforcement. He received the highest honor given to IRS CI employees, the Elmer Lincoln Irey Distinguished Service Award.
Paul’s research into America’s battle of organized crime and corruption ultimately led to the discovery of significant historical documents and artifacts that are now on display at The Mob Museum. These efforts garnered national media attention.