Mike McDonald, widely recognized as a leading AML expert who played a key role in developing innovative law enforcement responses to money laundering, passed away this week at the age of 68. He leaves behind him a lasting legacy in the field of financial crime prevention and detection.
In his distinguished career as a Special Agent of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, McDonald was on the front lines of combating narcotics trafficking rings in South Florida. With tremendous amounts of cartel cash washing into Miami financial institutions, McDonald helped found the pioneering Operation Greenback in 1980.
The first multi-agency money laundering task force, Operation Greenback would go on to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in assets from drug traffickers, compel institutions to comply with Bank Secrecy Act regulations, and lay a template for future law enforcement collaborative efforts.
After his retirement from IRS-CI in 1998, McDonald formed a consulting and advisory firm which assisted financial institutions with AML compliance, and advised numerous foreign governments on their proceeds of crime and asset forfeiture laws and procedures.
Through speaking roles, trainings and active participation in professional associations, McDonald served as a mentor and teacher to many professionals in the financial crime field. McDonald was a founding member of the ACFCS Advisory Board, and the association benefitted greatly from his expertise and support.
McDonald is survived by his wife Melanie, his children Carrie and Ryan, grandson Michael, and brother Larry McDonald. Contributions in his memory can be made to UM’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.