Treasury Names Ken Blanco to Head Financial Crimes Probes

Blanco, a longtime prosecutor, is headed to FinCEN from the U.S. Department of Justice.


Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco. Photo credit: Alan Diaz/AP.


The U.S. Department of Treasury’s financial crimes unit just added a big gun to head its investigations—longtime prosecutor Kenneth Blanco.

The Treasury announced Wednesday that Blanco, now acting assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, will lead its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network starting “in the next month.” FinCEN is part of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) and targets financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorist financing.

“Ken Blanco is an important addition at Treasury, and will focus on combating money laundering and illicit threats by those who seek to abuse our financial system,” said a statement from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “His extensive background in law enforcement will be a strong asset to our TFI team.”

Blanco, who has spent 28 years as a prosecutor, supervised many of the DOJ’s most significant national and international criminal investigations into illicit finance, money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act, and sanctions violations, including investigations of global financial institutions and money services businesses, the Treasury Department said.

He is taking over a unit that has a major ongoing investigation in progress into foreign buyers who use shell companies to buy luxury U.S. real estate in order to launder money. The probe started last year in Manhattan and in Miami-Dade County in Florida. It has since expanded to include all of New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other areas.
Blanco joined the Justice Department nearly 20 years ago as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida, and was appointed to deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division in 2008. He also served as general counsel to the 94 U.S. attorney’s offices.

Blanco, who began his career as a prosecutor in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, was speaking at a conference in New York City on Thursday and not immediately available for comment.

But he said in a released statement, “TFI is dedicated to protecting the American people and securing the integrity of our financial system from bad actors who commit acts of terror or other crimes against our nation. I look forward to working with others across law enforcement and the private sector in this important endeavor.”

The DOJ declined to comment on Blanco’s departure.


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