Article: SEC fines broker-dealer $1.5M for SARs filing failures

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SEC fines broker-dealer $1.5M for SARs filing failures

Kyle Brasseur, 12 May 2021

A Colorado-based broker-dealer will pay $1.5 million as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Wednesday for lapses in the filing of suspicious activity reports (SARs) related to the threat of cyber-breaches.

GWFS Equities, an affiliate of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, provides services to employer-sponsored retirement plans. The company was allegedly the victim of multiple attempts by bad actors to access the retirement accounts of individual plan participants. GWFS failed to file approximately 130 SARs related to these incidents as required, according to the SEC. Continue reading “Article: SEC fines broker-dealer $1.5M for SARs filing failures”

Article: FinCEN’s $390 Million case against Capital One – And What it Means for AML Enforcement

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FinCEN’s $390 Million case against Capital One – And What it Means for AML Enforcement

Seetha Ramachandran, Hena Vora,  26 March 2021

As the financial services industry prepares for expanded criminal and civil enforcement under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) with the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, FinCEN’s recent case against Capital One shows how FinCEN’s approach to AML enforcement is evolving.

On January 15, 2021, FinCEN assessed a $390 million civil money penalties against Capital One for violations of the BSA related to Capital One’s Check Cashing Group (the “CCG”). CCG is a business unit under Capital One’s commercial bank through which Capital One provides banking services including processing checks and providing customers with armored car cash shipments. In issuing its decision, FinCEN determined that, between 2008 and 2014, Capital One’s CCG failed to report millions of dollars in suspicious transactions. Specifically, FinCEN found that Capital One: failed to maintain an AML program to guard against money laundering as per 31 U.S.C. § 5318(h); failed to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) on suspicious transactions in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 5313; and failed to file currency transaction reports (CTRs) for the CCG in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 5313. Continue reading “Article: FinCEN’s $390 Million case against Capital One – And What it Means for AML Enforcement”

Article: FinCEN Signals Suspicion of Art Market Even Before AML Study Begins

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FinCEN Signals Suspicion of Art Market Even Before AML Study Begins

Nicholas O’Donnell, 24 March 2021

In connection with the late-2020 amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) to include “dealers in antiquities” as a result of its inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a notice of “Efforts Related to Trade in Antiquities and Art.”

The notice is a combination of guidance to entities now covered by the BSA, but it is also a potential backdoor around the entities that Congress chose not to regulate with respect to potential or perceived money laundering risks: art dealers. It also raises concerns about the objectivity of the forthcoming study of the art market that Congress instructed FinCEN to conduct. In either event, it is further evidence that momentum continues to gather for stricter oversight and regulation of the U.S. art market, and the importance of the art trade demonstrating more transparency and diligence if it hopes to modify or mitigate that regulation. Continue reading “Article: FinCEN Signals Suspicion of Art Market Even Before AML Study Begins”