True tales of the T-men, Part 3: Protecting the homeland and freezing Axis assets during WWII

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WHEN : 03/18/2020 1:00 pm 2:00 pm

Part 3 of a special ACFCS four-part series on the early financial crime fighters of the US: Protecting the homeland – The T-men use OFAC-like powers to freeze Axis assets, root out evaders as taxes rise in World War II

In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, marking the start of World War II and forcing the Treasury department to make a critical shift: protecting the homeland became a top priority. 

Morgenthau used the T-Men to freeze Axis power assets, denying the country’s enemies the means to fund espionage and sabotage. He also had the same groups of now more experienced investigators who took down organized criminal groups and shifted their formidable skills to now hunt down Nazi money laundering. 

Top T-Men gangster slayers applied their financial savvy on wartime collateral assignments such as overseeing the war bond program and procurement division.

Congress enacted successive tax rate increases – patriotically called “Taxes to Defeat the Axis” – to fund the war. Twenty years of the T-Men eradicating tax evasion and corruption made the tax system fit for duty.  

As Franklin Delano Roosevelt told Irey in 1943: “Over the years the Intelligence Unit has not only become a shiny mark of incorruptibility, but also A-1 efficiency.”

Many T-Men also volunteered for military service bringing the Intelligence Unit to a skeleton crew. But criminals did not patriotically cease their felonious activities and under the cover of war, organized crime found new markets to exploit. 

 Attendee learning goals:

  • Learn about the powers Treasury called into action to combat the financing of sabotage and subversive acts.
  • Gain an understanding of the creation of the Foreign Fund Control Investigative Unit to deprive Axis powers of funds and assets, a preview of the birth of OFAC, the country’s aggressive sanctions and foreign policy-making arm.
  • See how Treasury kept the tax system fit for duty on a skeleton crew of Intelligence Agents.
  • Get a glimpse into how the Treasury fought war time Black Markets controlled by organized crime
  • See the broader trends across cases with highlights of major cases from the 1940s.