ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is the latest to join a coalition of 24 attorneys general trying to persuade Congress to pass legislation to help stop criminals from using anonymous shell corporations to launder money.
In a letter to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, the attorneys general urged lawmakers to require shell companies to disclose who controls and profits from their activities, according to the Attorney General's Office.
“These shell companies are a safety net for bad actors who don’t play by the rules,” Balderas said in a statement. “My office is leading efforts to protect New Mexicans by addressing the opioid epidemic, combating human trafficking and investigating and prosecuting other crimes."
"Unfortunately, investigations can stall when these companies are used to hide the identity of the individual or individuals who control or profit from the company. I urge congressional leaders to fight for transparency, and protect New Mexicans.”
According to the Attorney General's Office, a report by Polaris, a group that helps stop human trafficking around the world, released a report that shows U.S. laws allow many trafficking operations to hide their beneficial owners. Polaris estimates more than 9,000 massage parlors that shield their trafficking through anonymous shell corporations earn nearly $2.5 billion a year.