A lawyer, finance expert, or some other professional who acts as an enabler of an economic crime is referred to as a professional enabler. These are the people who will create, ignore, fail to identify, and purposely facilitate an economic crime or criminal system.
In most cases, we only see the ‘face’ of the crime. One of the most notable examples is Bernie Madoff and his mega Ponzi scheme. It’s highly unlikely Madoff could’ve pulled off such a monumental scam alone. Undoubtedly, he received assistance from other professionals who probably benefited financially.
It’s also worth noting this form of enabling may consist of exploiting loopholes or skirting the fringes of legality. Sometimes an enabler may simply provide standard legal services – but on behalf of corrupt oligarchs and kleptocrats.
A common crime associated with professional enabling is, of course, money laundering. As portrayed on the hit Netflix show Ozark, organic crime gangs can even have their own lawyers working for them.
Sometimes a professional enabler is often the central figure who holds the key to the complex processes this crime requires. U4, the anti-corruption resource center, reported that: ‘Proceeds from drug trafficking rescued banks from collapsing during the 2008 financial crisis.’
The former head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that banks laundered approximately US$352 billion in drug proceeds.
However, such fraudulent activities by a small portion of these professionals, can undermine the public confidence in the legal and financial systems.