Ever visited a used car lot and wondered where the all the salespeople were? No, this is not the beginning of an elaborate 800-word joke. Thanks to ultra-cheesy television commercials, the used car salesman inhabits a dark and dirty place in Americans’ hearts. When we visit a used car lot, we expect the rigamarole and even plan for it. As a consumer, if you have to find a salesperson to show you a vehicle, a mental trigger should go off that something is amiss. The same holds true for financial institutions in that mental triggers should go off when those same used car dealers open new commercial accounts with large cash deposits.

The list of potential crimes taking place within a used car dealership could include, but are not limited to, identity fraud, human trafficking, fair lending abuses and more … with money laundering topping the list. If you pay attention to the news, you know that used car lots have now emerged as one of America’s most popular money washing vehicles. In a typical scenario, a criminal approaches a used car dealer and offers to provide cash to purchase vehicles, usually at a price above the sticker so the dealer can cash in, too.

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