Friday, October 14, 2005

Terrorism in the Heartland

There's much speculation still surrounding the Joel Hinrichs case in Oklahoma City, but today we have another case of possible terrorist activity.

The Kansas City Star (free registration) reports that a local Kansas City cab driver is under investigation for transfering $1.4 million in incremental amounts through multiple bank accounts to an account in Geneva, Switzerland.

A Kansas City cab driver has been charged in federal court with illegally transmitting more than $1 million to banks in Minneapolis and Geneva.

Serar Ahmed Abdullahi, 41, made his first appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon, after a secret federal indictment returned late last month was unsealed. Abdullahi, a native of Somalia and a naturalized U.S. citizen, did not enter a plea, which could come at a hearing this week.

According to the indictment, Abdullahi transmitted the money without a required license from the state of Missouri between 2000 and 2003. The charges also alledge that he structured deposits to three Kansas City banks to evade federal currency reporting requirements.

KCTV5 reported on the case (no link on their website at this time) indicating that he used amounts just under the $10,000 limit, depositing it in three bank accounts around the metro including the banks of UMB, Bank of America and one other bank that I missed during the report. He then transfered the amounts to an account in Minneapolis, MN where they were subsequently forwarded to the Geneva account, one at a time and under the $10k amount in hopes of by passing any regulatory laws.

Unfortunately for Abdullahi, he didn't know that the new banking regulations instituted around the globe and the JODs new data mining techniques would bring him to the attention of authorities anyway considering that his social security number and IRS tax filings did not report that sort of income for Mr. Abdullahi. The reporter also suggested that taxi cab operations were favorite money laundering companies for terrorists because it's largely a cash only business.

No additional information is known at this time, but the local federal prosecutor did indicate to the KCTV5 reporter that it was of interest for potential terror related money laundering.

Stand by for more information.

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