Jewelers must be ‘vigilant’ against money laundering, JVC says

The war on terrorism will likely create new obligations for jewelers, Jewelers Vigilance Committee executive director Cecilia Gardner said Sunday at a seminar at the JA Show.

“We need to become more vigilant so our industry is not unknowingly exploited for criminal purposes,” she said

One way to do this is watch your suppliers carefully.

“The basic message here is to know who you are dealing with,” she said. “If you get a new supplier, ask questions—such as their Social Security number, tax ID number, where their headquarters are located. If you are not getting sufficient answers, go somewhere else. And if you are suspicious of a transaction, evaluate whether to report it to law enforcement.”

In addition, jewelers should file the proper forms for cash transactions over $10,000.

She noted that these systems are especially important now that some media reports have linked money laundering by terrorists. One said terrorists were hiding their funds in “drugs, gems and diamonds.”

“How do you like that series in a sentence?” she asked. “A lot of these reports are unsubstantiated, but you have to ask yourself, if this on the cover of my local newspaper, even if there’s thin evidence, what does this mean for my business. And the U.S. government is looking at these articles and getting concerned about the systems we have.”

She notes the Kimberley Process import controls for diamonds should keep both conflict diamonds and gems used for money laundering out of the legitimate industry.

“This system was meant to stop conflict in Africa,” she said. “But it will also protect the trade from people who want to use it to support acts of terrorism.”