Alert draws notice to money-laundering schemes for fentanyl, other synthetic opioids

Financial schemes for laundering the proceeds from illegal sales of the drug fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the subject of an advisory issued Wednesday to financial institutions by the Treasury Department’s top office for fighting financial crime.

The Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued the alert, it said, to assist financial institutions in detecting and reporting suspicious activity, making it harder and more costly for criminals to commit the crimes, hide and use their illicit money; and continue fueling what it called an “epidemic of addiction and death, fueled by the illicit trafficking, sale, distribution, and misuse of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.”

The advisory outlines the trail that illegal transactions for the drugs typically follow, the opportunities for money laundering that exist in that route, case studies on illicit finance, red-flag indicators, the role of information collected through suspicious activity reports (SARs), and a reminder of “regulatory obligations for U.S. financial institutions.”

Advisory to Financial Institutions on Illicit Financial Schemes and Methods Related to the Trafficking of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids