According to the ICE, further investigation uncovered a "hawala" scheme used by Anvari-Hamedani to transfer $169,000 to Iran. The ICE says "hawalas" are a form of alternative money-transmitting business common in many Middle Eastern and African countries. The funds can be transferred between parties based on ties of kinship and individual trust, without using an immediate physical or electronic transfer of funds.
Money changers, also known as "hawaladars," physically receive cash or funds in one country. Hawaladars in another country then dispense an identical amount (minus fees or commissions) to a recipient or designated recipient bank account. These transactions could be exploited by terrorist groups or other criminal organizations to move large suns of money across international borders undetected.
I hope the Toledo, OH police department is aware that in "hawala schemes," that their investigation is NOT over with the arrest of Hamedani. They need to find the U.S. based hawaladar that that Hamedani was using! No paperwork, no formal structure, Good Luck! But hawaladars never have just one customer.
Here's a good paper on the Hawala money transfers, but allow me to provide a distilled version.
- A guy in the United Arab Emirates wants to send money to his "friend" in Iraq, but does not want to do it through formal banking or transfers.
- He asks his friends for the names of some local "hawaladars" in the UAE.
- Takes his big stash of cash to the hawaladar in the UAE
- The hawaladar takes the money, records nothing, no receipts, anything.
- The hawaladar then contacts a counterpart hawaladar in Iraq (not sure how he "contacts" them though).
- Says to the Iraqi hawaladar, "deliver X dollars to Hamed of Baghdad (or whomever)."
- The Iraqi hawaladar contacts Hamed of Baghdad and gives him the X dollars.
- NOTE** No money ever is exchanged between the hawaladars. The Iraqi hawaladar will contact the same UAE hawaladar the next time, making it all even-steven.
Toledo's Hamedani had to find the name of the hawaladar somewhere. And something tells me that the hawaladar's banking practices are not PATRIOT ACT compliant.