Dealing in bulk cash is a “high risk” business that helps launder drug proceeds.
The leading bulk-cash business: HSBC’s Banknotes, which controlled about 60 percent of the world market at its height. Yet HSBC stopped monitoring many transactions and over a three-year period purchased “over $9.4 billion in physical U.S. dollars from HSBC Mexico,” the deferred prosecution agreement said.
Also, when it moved money around globally, HSBC disguised the source of the funds with messages like “do not mention Iran.”
So the bank engaged in at least $183 million in prohibited transactions with entities in Iran, and $30 million in Cuba in addition to hundreds of millions more in other state-sponsor-of-terror countries.
Of course, the differences between HSBC and Sternad’s case are huge: different prosecutors in different jurisdictions, different piles of evidence and, of course, different ramifications for prosecuting.
The volumes of cash and transgressions is not just staggering, it makes the sum funneled to Sternad look puny.
Sure, Sternad did wrong. He’s cooperating with investigators as they target former Rep. Rivera, said by witnesses to have aided his scheme. Rivera, who denies wrongdoing, hasn’t been charged. Unnamed co-conspirators gave Sternad cash and checks to help prop up his campaign, perhaps in an effort to undermine a rival of Rivera’s, Joe Garcia, who beat Sternad in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary and then bested the congressman in the general election.
By the November vote, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald caught Sternad’s campaign misrepresenting its finances. The feds in the Southern District followed up and had a quick and easy case to prosecute, and they did it in what seems like record time.
Perhaps Sternad’s biggest fault, after committing the campaign-finance crimes, was that he was a night-time hotel worker. He’s a blue-collar nobody
If only he had been a bankster.