Follow the Money: An Essential Investigative Approach


This three-day Financial Investigative Techniques Seminar is presented in an interactive format with an emphasis on adult learning techniques. This means that while we will be covering the necessary topics to familiarize your audience with the techniques available in conducting financial investigations, we will also simultaneously be applying these principles into an interactive exercise, which will be interspersed throughout the activities of the three-day course. The exercise is somewhat simplified in order to fit into a 3-day time frame, but is essential in order for the participants to learn “realistic” application of these techniques to a situation similar to investigations they might encounter.

It is stressed that these techniques can greatly assist enforcement personnel not only in solving their cases, but also in identifying various other illegal schemes. The topics covered during the seminar are extremely effective for documenting and proving the existence of fraud and currency violations.

The interactive exercise involves a specific case scenario (with a dozen video scenes) that will allow the audience to apply the techniques of financial interviewing, identifying sources of financial information, financial profiles, and utilizing indirect methods of proving profitability in illegal enterprises. This can lead to the utilization of financial undercover operations, financial search warrants, and conducting money-laundering investigations.

Upon completion of this course, law enforcement personnel will be able to determine how the presence of money laundering and currency violations can assist them in potential forfeitures and/or prosecution of the perpetrators. For certain, "all" participants in attendance will begin to "think differently" about how they approach their investigations.

Course Objectives

This course is aimed at the state local and federal criminal investigator/prosecutor and their support staff who specialize in narcotics investigations and normally does not prioritize the related financial crimes. It will focus on the elements of the various financial crimes that stem from the laundering and accumulation of profits from the illegal narcotics industry.

Specific topics include financial interviewing, sources of financial information, assembling financial profiles, the use of financially based undercover operations, and the prosecution and forfeiture possibilities generated from using these techniques.

The theme of this class will be that these techniques can be employed parallel to a normal investigation and used to supplement any ongoing criminal investigation / prosecution.

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to determine if money laundering and currency violations can assist them in expanding their prosecution base through adding additional targets and whether asset forfeiture provisions of these statutes are appropriate.

Participants will further benefit from the seminar as follows:

• The ability to identify "fronts"
• The ability to identify deceptive practices
• Knowledge about the various sources of financial information
• The ability to gather admissible evidence of crimes

Participants are provided with student course books, handouts and practical exercises that complement the instruction and enhance the learning experience. A Certificate of Completion is given at the end of the three day seminar (for 24 CPE Credits) which covers its topics in detail and exceeds the standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits set by professions and associations to establish credentials, maintain proficiency and achieve certification status. No prerequisite or advanced training / preparations are required.

Course Schedule



  • • Introduction
  • • Financial Interviewing
    • · Establishing witness contact priority
    • · Topical interview planning and preparation
    • · Establishment of rapport
    • · Framing of questions
    • · Obtaining voluntary statements/records from witnesses
    • · Documenting statements and testimony
  • • Sources of Financial Information
    • · The four major categories of financial records
    • · Discussion of critical sources
    • · Uncovering evidence to rebut anticipated defenses
  • • Analysis of Bank Records
    • · "Boilerplate" language for use in requesting financial records
    • · Analysis of bank records for trends and unusual transactions
    • · Analysis of bank records for leads
  • • Currency Reporting Requirements
    • · The Bank Secrecy Act
    • · Currency reports and money laundering violations
    • · Available databases for financial information
    • · The Usage of comprehensive Intelligence Analyst Reports



  • • Financial Profiles
    • · Value of financial profiles
    • · Determination of level of spending
    • · Proof of likely source of illegally-obtained funds
  • • Indirect Methods of Proving Income from Illegal Sources
    • · Analysis of financial records
    • · Identifying assets and personal expenditures
    • · Identifying liabilities and loan reductions
    • · Development and presentation of the financial profile
    • · Customary defenses and means of rebuttal
    • · Fictitious loans and gifts as an explainable source of funds
  • • Sources of Financial Information (continued)
    • · Recap of sources previously discussed
    • · Familiarization with additional sources
  • • Link Analysis
    • · Application of schedules / diagrams to show connectivity or relationship



  • • Undercover Operations
    • · Obtaining admissible evidence through UC operations
    • · Piercing corporate veil and proving responsibility
  • • Financial Search Warrants
    • · Background
    • · Preparation of an effective FSW affidavit
    • · Accounting for and handling the potentially high volume of records seized
    • · Analysis of records seized
  • • International Banking
    • · History
    • · Methods of fund transfers
    • · Funds manipulation and schemes employing offshore banking
    • · Means of retrieving international bank records
  • • Detection and Investigation of Money Laundering Schemes
    • · Overview of money laundering statutes and their application
    • · How business systems are used in money laundering
    • · Identification of money laundering technique(s) being employed
    • · Most effective means of investigating and combating money laundering schemes
    • · Methods to trace domestic and offshore assets
  • • Final Thoughts
  • • Evaluations and Certification

Your Instructor

John M. LaFear
The LaFear Group, Inc.
John retired after over 24 years of service as a Special Agent with Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). He held various management positions including Director of Advanced Training at CI's Nat'l. Training Academy.

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