http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20020720-86016135.htm#2

Banking on criminal activity

7/20/02

Several banks recently announced that they would accept the Matricula Consular (Mexican Consulate ID) as the only form of identification necessary to open a bank account ("U.S. banks, cities accept Mexican illegals' ID," Thursday). This may be aiding in money laundering, tax evasion, racketeering, conspiracy and the structuring of transactions to evade reporting requirements by U.S. banks.

This new practice also may be blatantly illegal. In an effort to stop money laundering by criminals, terrorists and drug dealers, Congress passed laws making it illegal to open a bank account without a Social Security number or a taxpayer ID number. An American citizen is required to have a Social Security number, and a legal resident is required to have a visa or a green card that can be used to obtain a taxpayer ID in order to open a legal bank account. It looks as if these banks need a quick legal refresher. According to Title 8 of U.S. Code:

· Any foreign national who enters the United States illegally is a criminal (8 USC Sec. 1325).

· It is illegal to hire, transport and/or harbor an illegal alien.

· Any money or assets that an illegal alien has is the result of criminal activity. Remember, a Mexican illegal alien is the only person who would need a Matricula Consular to open a bank account.

Additionally, if a bank and/or its employee accepts the Matricula Consular to open a bank account without requiring the person to provide proper legal identification and a Social Security number or a taxpayer ID number, the bank and/or its employee may be engaging in and/or aiding in money laundering (18 USC Sec. 1956), tax evasion (26 USC Sec. 7201), racketeering (18 USC Sec. 1962), conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government (18 USC Sec. 371) and structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements (31 USC Sec. 5324).

If a bank and/or its employee engages in any of these illegal activities, the bank and/or employee should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

FRANK VERA Redlands, Calif.