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Letter: ‘Illicit Cash’ Act Is A Common Sense Reform

“The time has come to eliminate anonymous shell companies in the United States …”

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Dear Editor,

Some questions being debated in Washington, D.C. really are black and white. In the case of the ILLICIT CASH Act – an important anti-money laundering proposal – the political equation simply pits commonsense versus criminals.

Presently, criminal organizations like drug cartels often utilize anonymous corporations with complex financial structures to fund operations and avoid detection by law enforcement. This dangerous blind spot directly compromises the safety and security of South Carolinians. Making matters worse, anonymous shell companies not only make it make it easier for criminals to evade law enforcement, but under current federal law, it’s all perfectly legal.

Reforms to secure our financial system – like a federal requirement to disclose business ownership information – will help prevent the United States and South Carolina from being criminal havens, with minimum disruption to law abiding citizens. The proposed disclosure requirements, clearly defined in the ILLICIT CASH Act, would be similar to those necessary to rent a car or register for a post office box: name, address, date of birth, and driver’s license or passport number.

The ILLICIT CASH Act strikes the right balance between imposing minimal requirements on businesses owners while providing critical information to law enforcement and financial institutions performing due diligence. The time has come to eliminate anonymous shell companies in the United States and threat they pose to South Carolina.

With the leadership of Sen. Tim Scott, a member of the U.S. Senate’s Banking Committee, this common-sense reform can be instituted to the benefit of us all.

Sincerely,

Steve Wichmann

Former Executive Vice President, Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union

Summerville, South Carolina

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FROM THE EDITOR …

Steve: Interesting topic. I had never heard of this bill before but appreciate you putting it on the radar of FITS readers. I agree with you that the right balance needs to be struck between reporting (especially for small businesses) and the availability of vital, relevant information for law enforcement.

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