The facilitation of organised crime by professional enablers and money launderers

Research Institution / Organisation

Birkbeck, University of London

Principal Researcher

Tiggey May

Level of Research

Professional / Work-based

Project Start Date

September 2017

Research Context

​The Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), Birkbeck, University of London has been funded by The Dawes Trust (an independent charitable trust) to undertake a two-year research study looking at The Facilitation of Organised Fraud by Professional Enablers and Money Launderers. This study is a follow-up to a study we completed in 2016, which examined the nature and extent of organised crime groups involved in fraud. The report from this study has recently been published as a book by Palgrave Macmillan entitled: Organised Crime Groups Involved in Fraud.

Our current study notes that despite the growing recognition of the importance of professional enablers (e.g. lawyers, accountants and bankers) and money launderers to organised crime groups, very little is known about how such facilitators are groomed, recruited, retained and rewarded by OCGs. Equally, little is known about the achievements and challenges faced by enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies when tackling the involvement of OCGs in organised fraud.


This study has three main objectives:

  1. To examine the recruitment and routes into organised fraud by professional enablers and money launderers 
  2. To assess the enforcement and regulatory response to the facilitators of organised fraud
  3. To explore the preventative measures aimed at identifying, deterring and safeguarding those who facilitate/enable organised fraud.

To achieve these objectives we will be conducting depth interviews with:

  • Incarcerated offenders (professional enablers and money launderers) convicted for their involvement in organised fraud
  • Police and other law enforcement agencies involved in the ‘policing’ of organised fraud
  • Individuals from professional regulatory and oversight bodies.

In addition, we will be undertaking an anonymised survey of up to 1,000 regulated industry professionals.

Research Methodology

  • ​Qualitative interviews with professional enablers, money launderers and organised fraudsters (n=9)
  • Qualitative interviews with enforcement professionals and key stakeholders (n=50)
  • Analysis of a solicitor survey (n=105)
  • Thematic analysis, survey analysis conducted on SPSS, offender interviews written up as case studies.

Interim reports and publications

​Publication will be by journal article.

Date due for completion

May 2019
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