History - Money Laundering
IRS Criminal Investigation was established in 1919 and commenced its first narcotics investigation of an opium trafficker in Hawaii in the early 1920's, bringing the only charge we could; tax evasion. At that time, millions of dollars were being laundered through financial institutions, going untaxed and being used to purchase assets. There was no paper trail at the financial institution other than bank account records, if the money was deposited. There was no requirement for banks to report the large amounts of currency transactions.
In 1970, Congress passed the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). With the enactment of the BSA came the introduction of the Currency Transaction Report (CTR, Form 4789), Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments (CMIR, Form 4790) and Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR, Form TD F 90-22.1).
The BSA created the paper trail needed by law enforcement to track untaxed dollars and the millions of dollars being laundered through financial institutions. IRS has been able to follow this paper trail to disrupt and dismantle, through investigation, prosecution and forfeiture of assets, the country's major drug and money laundering organizations.
While tax evasion investigations are IRS Criminal Investigation's number one enforcement priority, violations of currency reporting requirements and money laundering laws continue to be areas of emphasis.