Terrorist and other criminal organizations constantly seek diverse ways to finance their illicit operations and avoid detection by law enforcement. Recognizing the need to adapt and adjust to this fluid environment, through its Cornerstone initiative ICE seeks to detect and close down vulnerabilities within U.S. financial, trade and transportation sectors that could be exploited by these criminal networks. Criminal organizations use many methods to earn, move and store illicit funds:
Consistent with our mission to secure the integrity of our cross-border business sectors, ICE has made combating these highly profitable crimes a priority.
Every year, U.S. consumers lose millions of dollars through telemarketing and other consumer-related mail and wire frauds. These frauds include fictitious lottery winnings, phony inheritances and bogus investment opportunities or credit offers. ICE aggressively investigates this cross-border crime, which frequently targets the elderly and other vulnerable segments of our society. Since 1998, ICE has been a member of Project Colt, an international, multiagency task force based in Montreal, Canada, that was created to combat Canadian-based telemarketing fraud. Since its inception, Project Colt investigations conducted by ICE agents have resulted in over 160 arrests in both the U.S. and Canada, and the return of approximately $15 million to U.S. and Canadian victims. If you have been called by someone with an offer such as those described above, contact your nearest ICE Office of Investigations. Remember: If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.