Five days after the Las Vegas shooting, police officials and the FBI were aware that one of Stephen Paddock’s bank accounts had been shut down over concerns it was connected to international terrorism.
On pages 85 and 86 of an official police report regarding the Oct. 1 massacre, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer Andre Bates, working with the Department of Homeland Security, wrote on Oct. 6 that investigators became aware of Paddock’s bank account being shut down on the basis of suspicion of terrorism.
With “all of the high money withdrawals, they felt it was terrorist related,” the report states regarding the bank’s decision to close the account. It is unclear when the account was shut down, but it occurred sometime before the attack.
The information comes from an individual whose name has been redacted from the report.
Beginning on page 85, officer Bates appears to refer to Stephen Paddock’s ex-wife, Peggy Paddock, as his redacted source, saying of her “she was married to Stephen for 6 years but divorced approximately 25 years ago.” Bates reports this source remained friends with Paddock and even continued to travel with him after the divorce. In the same report, officer Bates mentioned that Stephen Paddock owned a plane and would fly it to various locations.
Following the mention of possible terror-related financing, the same individual told the officer that Paddock “has numerous bank accounts” but she didn’t know which account had been flagged. She added that over “the last couple years, Stephen has become extremely angry but never mentioned anything about committing any violence towards anyone.”
Nearly eight months after Paddock, 64, allegedly opened fire from his 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino onto a crowd gathered at a country music festival, killing 58 people and injuring over 800 more, law enforcement maintains to have not determined a motive. Even when the bodies were still warm, LVMPD and the FBI were adamant Paddock was a lone wolf and the shooting was not an act of terrorism, a position they maintain to this day.
Immediately following the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility, saying Paddock was an ISIS soldier who converted to Islam six months prior.
One day after the shooting, before an investigation could be completed, Aaron Rouse, the Special Agent in charge of the FBI in Las Vegas, said in a press conference, “We have determined, to this point, no connection to an international terrorist group.”
The explosive new information released in officer Bates’s report joins other damning evidence that suggests Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Special Agent Rouse intentionally misled the public about the investigation.
Bates’s report is particularly damning because it suggests that Paddock was known to the FBI prior to the Las Vegas shooting, despite Sheriff Lombardo and Special Agent Rouse maintaining Paddock was not previously known to law enforcement.
A source within the FBI, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told DANGEROUS that banks are required to report suspected terrorism-related activity.
“If you have a bank account that is flagged for being suspected of money laundering or terrorism financing, the financial institution is required to complete a suspicious activity report, which is then sent to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN). The FBI and other federal agencies have access to FINCEN’s database, which includes every suspicious activity report. It is possible that the FBI could have known about Stephen Paddock and his suspicious bank activities prior to the Las Vegas shooting if they had queried the FINCEN database,” the source said.
During press conferences in the immediate aftermath of the attack, investigators told the public of one large financial transaction made by Paddock, a $100,000 foreign bank transfer to his girlfriend, Mari Lou Danley, in the Philippines. That transaction does not appear to be the one described in officer Bates’s report.
The same FBI source told DANGEROUS, “If Paddock’s bank account was truly shut down on suspicion of terror financing, and the bank followed protocol in conducting a suspicious activity report which would have been submitted to FINCEN, then the FBI and other federal agencies would have had access to that information, which means the Las Vegas shooting could have possibly been prevented.”
The new information suggests the FBI could have prevented the tragedy if a suspicious activity report had been filed. Both the FBI and LVMPD battled in court to prevent the release of the nearly 2,000 pages of police documents related to the shooting investigation. The newest dump of information, the fifth one, occurred Wednesday and contains 911 calls and rooftop surveillance footage from the night of the shooting.
In earlier batches of the documents, DANGEROUS exclusively reported Las Vegas police were aware the night of the shooting that three women were registered to Paddock’s hotel room, that his girlfriend had ISIS “friends” on Facebook, and that Paddock warned an Uber driver of a “terror attack” at the Mandalay Bay.
Both the FBI and the LVMPD have declined to comment on any of the new information.
feature image via CNN
Laura Loomer is a conservative investigative journalist and activist. She is the author of What Happens In Vegas, forthcoming from Dangerous Books. Follow her on Twitter @LauraLoomer
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