8 Famous Money-Laundering Examples of the Past 50 Years in the United States

March 24, 2023

BCCI Scandal (1991) – The Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was found to have laundered money for drug traffickers, terrorists, and arms dealers. The bank was eventually shut down by regulators and several individuals were convicted of money-laundering and other crimes.

RJR Nabisco (1992) – The tobacco and food conglomerate RJR Nabisco was accused of money laundering in connection with the sale of cigarettes to organized crime figures in Russia. The company eventually settled the case with the government for $15 million.

Enron (2001) – The energy giant Enron was found to have used off-shore shell companies and accounting tricks to hide debt and inflate profits. Several executives were convicted of money laundering and other crimes in connection with the company’s collapse.

AIG (2005) – The insurance giant AIG was accused of using off-shore shell companies to hide transactions from regulators and avoid taxes. The company eventually paid a $1.6 billion fine to settle the case.

Stanford Financial Group (2009) – The investment firm Stanford Financial Group was found to have operated a massive Ponzi scheme and laundered billions of dollars in investors’ money. The company’s founder, Allen Stanford, was convicted of money-laundering and other crimes and was sentenced to 110 years in prison.

HSBC (2012) – The global bank HSBC was found to have laundered money for Mexican drug cartels and violated sanctions against Iran. The bank eventually paid a $1.9 billion fine to settle the case.

Deutsche Bank (2017) – Deutsche Bank was fined $630 million by regulators for allowing money laundering to occur through its Moscow, London, and New York branches.

Danske Bank (2018) – The Danish bank Danske Bank was found to have laundered $234 billion through its Estonian branch, making it one of the largest money-laundering scandals in history.

These examples of money-laundering in the United States span across different sectors, from banks to energy companies to insurance companies. It highlights the need for effective regulation and enforcement to combat money-laundering, which can have serious negative effects on the economy and society as a whole. It also underscores the new Anti-Money Laundering whistleblower statute, which enables whistleblowers who report money laundering the right way to potentially receive a portion of the government’s recovery.