New Jersey State Police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating an Atlantic City man who is wanted on numerous charges.
Law enforcement says Jordan Ragland, 29, is on the run. The Atlantic City resident is wanted on various drug, weapon, and money laundering offenses.
The New Jersey State Police Special Investigations Unit’s Casino Gaming Bureau initiated a probe into Ragland’s activities at Atlantic City casinos last September. Investigators linked approximately $107,000 worth of suspicious money laundering transactions to Ragland.
In March, detectives intercepted a package from California to Ragland’s Atlantic City residence that contained a large amount of methamphetamine. A subsequent search warrant was carried out at the home, and police seized more than $43,000 worth of drugs, guns, and high-capacity magazines.
Ragland wasn’t home at the time of raid, but his alleged coconspirator was. Police arrested James Wright, 35, also of Atlantic City.
Casino Money Laundering
Casinos have long been targeted by criminals looking to launder their ill-gotten money. It’s one of the most important surveillance areas for casinos, and operators spend massive amounts of money each year protecting their casino cages from being used illegally, training staff in how to detect suspicious activity.
Casinos in the United States must comply with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Passed in 1970, the federal law requires financial industries to assist the US government in detecting and preventing money laundering. For many years, only banks and related institutions were required to comply with the BSA. That changed in 2001, when casinos and card clubs were added due to their handling of large volumes of cash.
Under the BSA, casinos must file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) when a casino “knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that a transaction aggregating at least $5,000 involves funds derived from illegal activity, is intended to disguise funds or assets derived from illegal activity, is designed to avoid BSA reporting or recordkeeping requirements, uses the casino to facilitate criminal activity, and/or is not the sort of transaction in which the particular patron would be expected to engage, and the casino knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts.”
The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reports that in 2019, commercial and tribal casinos, plus card clubs, filed 51,275 SARs.
Ragland Faces Steep Consequences
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, a New Jersey legal firm experienced in money laundering, explains that money laundering penalties in New Jersey are substantial. A conviction of first-degree money laundering can include prison sentences as long as 20 years, plus a fine of $200,000, or three times the value of the money laundered involved, whichever is greater.
Ragland, of course, is considered innocent until proven guilty. Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is asked to call New Jersey State Police Special Investigations Section, Casino Gaming Bureau, at 609-441-7464.
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