The BMPE is a complex, money laundering scheme in which drug proceeds enter the legitimate financial system through numerous “structured” cash deposits into accounts held by a legitimate business in the United States. The money is returned to drug traffickers when actual goods – in the case of ATC, stuffed animals such as Teddy bears – are exported to the foreign countries and sold to generate local “clean” money.
The investigation revealed two primary ways in which ATC received and structured cash: in some cases, people affiliated with drug traffickers simply dropped cash at ATC’s offices in downtown Los Angeles; the second method involved cash deposits made directly into an ATC bank account, sometimes by individuals located as far away as New York. During one four-year period, the investigation tracked more than $8 million in cash deposit into ATC accounts, and not a single transaction was for more than $10,000, according to court documents.
The case involving Angel Toys was the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the California Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.
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