The Software That Ruined Eliot Spitzer

Unusual deposits alerted ever-watchful bank computers
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2008 3:20 PM CDT
This undated image obtained from a MySpace webpage shows a woman identified as Ashley Alexandra Dupre.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The banks were watching Eliot Spitzer—and they’re watching all of us, too. These days, all large banks and most small ones are equipped with anti-money laundering software, Technology Review explains, which tracks even the most mundane transactions of every customer. Moves that don’t conform to a pattern—like Spitzer’s three $5,000 deposits—get flagged.

Ever since 9/11, the government has urged banks to keep stringent anti-laundering checks in place, to track both corporate crime and potential donations to terrorists. Spitzer’s bank won’t say what, if any, software it was using, but even the most rudimentary program would have caught his “structuring” scheme, especially because politicians and businessmen automatically fall into a higher risk bracket than others.