As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on January 18, 2008, ex-Philadelphia lawmaker German Quiles, his wife and daughter, were recently convicted of money laundering in U.S. District Court.   According to a July 13, 2007 Department of Justice press release, the Quiles’ family had earlier been indicted for laundering about $175,900 dollars between Philadelphia and Aruba.  While under investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Quiles had laundered what they believed were drug proceeds.  They had used their Money Service Businesses (which cashed checks, wire transferred money and sold traveler’s checks), as a laundering link to wash money.  

According to the Quiles’ indictment, ICE had heavily relied on a confidential informant during its investigation.  Other facts mentioned by the Quiles’ indictment support the conclusion that ICE had also likely recognized a number of money laundering indicia.  In the Quiles’ case, these inidica may have included the use of:

  • a high-risk geographical location to transfer funds (i.e. Aruba).
  • multiple jurisdictions, such as Philadelphia and Aruba.
  • offshore wire transfers.
  • traveler’s checks to convert cash.
  • structured transactions to avoid Bank Secrecy Act reporting requirements.
  • false identification.

In addition to using a confidential informant and recognizing money laundering indicia, ICE also would have scrutinized phone records belonging  to the Quiles.  Any relevant government filings about the Quiles, (like Suspicious Activity Reports filed by U.S. financial institutions), would too most likely have been examined by ICE.  As the website of  Visual Analytics Inc. suggests, law enforcement  agencies like ICE may also sometimes detect money laundering / other crimes by using "data mining" to analyze phone calls or Suspicious Activity Reports.

Copyright 2008 Fred L. Abrams