WASHINGTON -- The antimoney laundering division of the Justice Department will be dissolved. Its responsibilities will be folded into two other divisions-- asset forfeiture and narcotics-- according to an agency spokesman.
The change is part of a broader streamlining effort, spearheaded by Jo Ann Harris, assistant attorney general for the criminal division.
The move is expected to be made after the agency receives approval from the House and Senate Judiciary and Appropriations committees as well as the Office of Management and Budget. The reorganization will be complete within one or two months, Justice Department spokesman John Russell said.
No layoffs will occur, and the budget from the anti-money laundering division will be divided between the other two units, Mr. Russell said.
John Byrne, senior counsel for the American Bankers Association, said he hopes the change is cosmetic. "As long as the resources haven't been reduced, bankers should have no cause for alarm," he said.
But Mr. Byrne said he was concerned that the Justice Department has already said it will spend 10% to 25% less on bank fraud cases. "That means less of our customer frauds are being looked at by the government."
Other changes planned by the Justice Department include splitting the terrorism and violent crime division into two sections.