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May 9 2008   11:46AM GMT

Overheard: AML software and the law of unintended consequences

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

eliot_spitzer.jpg Poor Eliot Spitzer. The former governor of New York resigned in disgrace last month amid allegations he hired a high-priced call girl. In a matter of days, Mr. Spitzer went from potential presidential candidate to — in the tech world, at least — the poster boy for software usually used to snare fraudsters, money launderers and terrorists.

Ian Harvey, Anti-laundering software casts wide net to catch big fish

A little more info about how AML software accidently caught a big fish.

By law in Canada and the U.S., banks are obligated to report cash transactions of more than $10,000. According to U.S. federal officials, Mr. Spitzer’s transactions were flagged because it appeared as though he was trying to evade notice by moving several smaller amounts, which is known as “structuring.” In Mr. Spitzer’s case, three cash transactions amounting to more than $10,000 within a relatively short time frame set off alarms.

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