— In the early hours of March 1, a man with an impressive collection of exotic caravans and exotic estate sales vehicles made his way into the U.S. from Oklahoma.
He was carrying a backpack with a suitcase filled with $1.2 million in cash and $150,000 in jewelry.
It was a deal.
It went awry.
The man had never been arrested before, and it was a rare example of an American who would turn himself in and pay a big fine and face up to five years in prison.
But that was all part of a $1 million deal.
A month earlier, on the same day, a caravan from a similar set of transactions had been arrested in Tulsa, Okl., where the man was driving.
That caravaning also went awy.
And that was just one of a series of recent cases of Americans who turned themselves in and paid large fines and facing jail time for seemingly minor offenses, like running a red light or not wearing seat belts.
The Justice Department said at least four people in all had been in jail awaiting trial on the money laundering charges that they were caught in on.
As the Justice Department works to prosecute the money-laundering scheme that netted the American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and others millions of dollars, the Trump administration has stepped up its efforts to get people to turn themselves in.
At a time when Americans are struggling with unemployment, an economic downturn and a new president who is under fire from Democrats and a wide range of critics, the government is ramping up efforts to crack down on corruption and the use of foreign money to fund politicians.
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Congress that he has been working on a “national strategy” to crack Down on Money Laundering and the Use of Foreign Currency for Congress.
Sessions said the Justice department’s focus has been on targeting the money launderers who run the schemes, which he called the “epidemic” of corruption.
The strategy will include creating a task force of U.N. inspectors to investigate corruption at the world’s largest financial institutions, Sessions said.
“These criminals, who prey on the most vulnerable among us, must be held accountable,” he said.
The Justice Department’s crackdown is being led by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, who was appointed by President Donald Trump to lead the office.
Boyd was confirmed in February by the Senate.
The administration has already spent $5.4 million on publicizing the crackdown, which has included a $2.2 billion increase in funding for the department’s Countering Money Lending Program.
“As we continue to dismantle the global drug trafficking network and its criminal enterprise, we must continue to focus on our fight against money laundering and the corruption that enables this crime to thrive,” said Attorney General Sessions.
The department’s efforts are not unique to the U, and they are not limited to the Trump Administration.
The Obama Administration said it was increasing its effort to crack money laundering as part of its anti-money laundering strategy.
But with President Trump at the helm, Sessions’ administration has focused on targeting money launders and the money they use to fund international criminals.
For his part, Sessions has vowed to hold people accountable for their financial misdeeds.
He has proposed legislation that would require the Justice and Treasury departments to report to Congress every time they believe an American has been involved in money laundering or other criminal activity.
That bill, which is scheduled for a vote in the Senate next month, would also force the Treasury Department to submit to Congress a report on every dollar that a criminal proceeds from a crime, a move that would include information about the money that the department receives from foreign governments and private entities.
The effort is being taken by the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Unit, which the department has used to seize millions of pieces of property, including properties owned by U.K. royal family members, Russian oligarchs and members of the British royal family.
The government has also cracked down on foreign agents working for criminals, including the extradition of a Russian criminal accused of laundering money for the Russian mafia.