True Tales of the T-men Part 2: US Treasury’s post-Prohibition crime fighting machine

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WHEN : 02/19/2020 1:00 pm 2:00 pm

Part 2 of a special four-part ACFCS series, presented by Paul Camacho, looking back at the history of US Treasury efforts against financial crime. This presentation follows the T-Men as they step on big political toes, battle organized crime on new fronts and mold Treasury law enforcement divisions into effective crime fighting machines.

After Prohibition ended, organized crime found a new gold rush: illegal wagering. Like booze, betting on the ponies became another American pastime. 

Corruption allowed illegal betting houses and gaming parlors to flourish in major cities. Yes, Capone and other prohibition gangsters were locked up, but the country was still littered with corrupt political bosses that carved out equitable partnerships with mobsters. 

One of most popular national politicians, Huey Long, had the entire state of Louisiana up for sale. Soon after being appointed, Treasury Secretary Henry J Morgenthau Jr. made Elmer Lincoln Irey his special representative.   

He empowered Irey to investigate reports of corruption in high office as if they were John Doe and “let the chips fall where they may.” Morgenthau also tasked Irey with rooting out inefficiency in other treasury law enforcement Units.  

Eventually, Irey became the Chief coordinator of all Treasury law enforcement groups, overseeing Secret Service, US Customers, Border Patrol, Coast Guard Investigations, IRS Criminal and the Alcohol Tax Division (ATF). In all, under Irey, he and his agents sent two thirds of all federal criminals to prison.    

The story of Elmer Irey and his T-Men – when told in juxtaposition to the other famed law enforcement leader of the time, J Edgar Hoover – becomes an engaging tale of unsung heroes, professional jealousy, turf battles, empire building and the exploitation of the media for personal gain.  

One leader chose a selfless pursuit of leadership excellence, the other chose, in the eyes of many, a relentless pursuit of power.

Attendee learning goals:

  •  Learn about the early tips and tactics tied to Treasury Secretary Henry J Morgenthau’s efforts supporting the Intelligence Unit combating corruption and organized crime – timeless gumshoe lessons still relevant to the investigator of today.
  • Understand the interplay between the influence of J Edgar Hoover’s public relation machine swaying public perception and the opportunities and challenges this brought agents on the ground.
  • Get insight on the epic challenges the intelligence Unit faced in bringing to justice corrupt officials in high office and how they overcome those seemingly insurmountable obstacles to close cases. 
  • Get a new understanding related to the intricate coordination related to all treasury law enforcement groups to bolster the efficiency and quality of investigations, protocols that can help the investigate agencies of today – and compliance groups tasked with similar goals.  
  • See the criminal trends of yesteryear with a highlight reel of major cases from the 1930s.