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You are here News Economy How a Whistleblower Blew the Lid Off Wachovia-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scheme

How a Whistleblower Blew the Lid Off Wachovia-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scheme

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American banks high on drug money launderingMartin Woods, an Englishman in his mid-40s, is blessed with a Sherlock Holmes instinct and demeanor. Woods is an expert at sniffing out "dirty" money passing through International Banking Systems.

A police officer for 18 years and later a detective with London Metro Police Agency, Woods capitalized on his unique expertise as a fraud expert by joining Wachovia's London-based Bank in March 2005 as an anti-money laundering officer.

It wasn't long after taking the job that he discovered that his own employer, one of America's leading banks, was a major player in aiding the "bloodthirsty" Mexico drug cartels to launder billions of dollars in drug money through Wachovia banks. Woods traced and identified a "number of suspicious transactions" related to Mexico-based Casa de Cambios (CDC).

Casa de Cambios are currency-exchange operations set up along the U.S. Mexico-border to assist cross border transfers of money to remit labor paychecks. And on the illegal side the Casa de Cambios are also known as the superhighway for narcotic proceeds into the U.S. and overseas financial markets.

When Woods zeroed in on deposited traveler's checks with sequential numbers sent by the CDC he discovered that large amounts of funds were exceedingly more than a typical person would need. The questionable CDC checks either lacked adequate identifying information or had none at all, including no legible signatures affixed on the funds.

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