Crime School: Money Laundering


240 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55263-584-8
DDC 364.16'8





Reviewed by Geoff Hamilton

Geoff Hamilton is a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of
British Columbia.


Mathers is a former undercover police officer with decades of experience
working for the RCMP, DEA, and FBI. Crime School explores various
aspects of money laundering, including the ways in which organized crime
uses the banking system, the dynamics of domestic and offshore finances
in laundering operations, the rigours of penitentiary life, the
vulnerability of law enforcement to corruption, and the commercial
“gray market.”

This informative and timely book serves as an accessible introduction
to the ways in which organized crime hides the origins of its profits.
Mathers knows his subject intimately, explaining clearly the fine points
of money laundering and the workings of various criminal enterprises. He
demonstrates the impact of organized crime on citizens (in the form of
individual identity theft and in the inflation of prices caused by
stolen revenues) and makes a persuasive argument for the importance of
tracing money laundering in order to uncover and prosecute the crimes
from which it typically emerges. The fact that terrorist organizations
necessarily rely on money laundering adds further urgency to Mathers’s

Mathers’s authority is undermined, unfortunately, by a self-conscious
writing style—a kind of coarsely knowing cynicism lifted in part from
film noir and pulp fiction—that can often be very annoying. He relies
heavily on tough-guy clichés, including the hoariest of them all
(deployed in relation to heterosexual men’s vulnerability to
attractive women): “That’s just the way things work in the real
world.” The author’s endless “witty” observations are, moreover,
often in poor taste or worse. For example, Manuel Noriega is dubbed
“General Pizza Face,” while drug-producing nations are summarily put
in their place: “Crack cocaine was invented by Dominicans. Apart from
supplying most of the better players in major-league baseball, this
appears to be their only noteworthy contribution to society.” If one
can get past the narrative posturing, however, this book has much to


Mathers, Chris., “Crime School: Money Laundering,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,