Article: Cannabis Banking Is Happening Despite No Official Legislation In Place

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Cannabis Banking Is Happening Despite No Official Legislation In Place

J. Samuel, 19 July 2021

There has been an increase of banks and credits unions that have spoken on working with cannabis businesses. In recent times reports have come out about how these financial institutes have remained stable over the last quarter. This updated info has come from published federal data.

Going back from the last 3 quarters of 2020 those states have been falling consistently. This is partially happening because of overhauled reporting requirements from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. As well this is also due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet things seem to have been sustainable over the most recent two quarters. Continue reading “Article: Cannabis Banking Is Happening Despite No Official Legislation In Place”

Article: United States: Biden: The Fight Against Foreign And Transnational Corruption Is A National Security Interest

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United States: Biden: The Fight Against Foreign And Transnational Corruption Is A National Security Interest

Wilmer Hale, 14 June 2021

On June 3, 2021, President Biden issued a National Security Memorandum establishing the fight against corruption both at home and abroad as a core United States national security interest and directing the development of a 200-day interagency review designed to culminate in a report and recommendations on how the United States government and its partners can better combat corruption, enhance transparency in the global financial system and promote good governance. When combined with the anti-money laundering (AML) legislation that entered into force with the January 2021 bipartisan passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA)1- the most significant reforms to US AML laws since the 2001 adoption of the USA PATRIOT Act-and a review of sanctions policy conducted by the Treasury Department, the Memorandum may lead to a heightened focus on illicit financial activity and corruption and may ultimately result in additional resources being allocated to anti-corruption and AML enforcement.

A. Overview of the Memorandum
Defining the need to “counter[] corruption” as a “core United States national security interest,” President Biden advances a multifaceted policy initiative that rests on three key pillars: promoting good governance, ensuring transparency in global financial systems, and combating and preventing corruption. We can expect more detail on President Biden’s anti-corruption strategy with the publication of the Interagency Report after 200 days. President Biden’s focus on promoting good governance, increasing transparency and reducing impunity centers on the following themes: Continue reading “Article: United States: Biden: The Fight Against Foreign And Transnational Corruption Is A National Security Interest”

Article: Cleaning House: Combatting Money Laundering

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Cleaning House: Combatting Money Laundering

Martin Cheek, 02 June 2021

Money laundering, for the general public, is the stuff of gritty dramas like Ozark or the notorious dealings of Pablo Escobar and El Chapo. In popular culture, it is depicted as an activity to be done in the dark of night with neatly-stacked wads of cash deposited into duffel bags. The reality, however, is much more banal, with most money laundering occurring in the guise of an unremarkable series of transactions designed to obfuscate the trail for any who might be inclined to investigate.

The real estate sector has long been a favorite of money launderers, as the lack of regulation and use of shell companies have enabled them to “wash” a large quantity of cash through the system in one transaction. The truth is that nobody really knows how much money is laundered through real estate—not least because much of it currently goes undetected. This opacity might serve shady operators well, but it can have catastrophic effects on the rest of the economy, as the 2008 housing crisis demonstrated all too devastatingly. Continue reading “Article: Cleaning House: Combatting Money Laundering”

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: PayThink The pandemic has given launderers a new window

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PayThink The pandemic has given launderers a new window

Martin Cheek, 11 May 2021

The shift to digital has also made it simpler for people to find ways to game the system and commit fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities.

Thanks to the coronavirus, the vast majority of us now spend more time online than ever. Tasks that we once performed in person, such as going to the grocery store or buying stamps, are now done in the comfort of our own homes. Even going to the bank has become a virtual process, with more and more people opting to deposit checks and manage investments directly from their mobile phones. Continue reading “Article: PayThink The pandemic has given launderers a new window”

Article: How America Became the Money Laundering Capital of the World

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In March, federal agents raided the Beverly Hills premises of a company called U.S. Private Vaults. According to a subsequent grand jury indictment, U.S. Private Vaults was a money laundering operation where drug dealers and others could anonymously stash fentanyl, guns, and “huge stacks of $100 bills” in safe deposit boxes. U.S. Private Vaults didn’t really bother to hide its business, boasting in ads, “We don’t even want to know your name.” It also shared its strip mall storefront with Gold Business, which allegedly specialized in laundering drug money via purchases of gold. Continue reading “Article: How America Became the Money Laundering Capital of the World”

Article: FinCEN Rules Seen As Potential ‘Killer’ Of Art, Antique Shops

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FinCEN Rules Seen As Potential ‘Killer’ Of Art, Antique Shops

Al Barbarino, 20 April 2021

The recent overhaul of federal anti-money laundering laws could drive small- and mid-sized antiquities and art shops out of business over what some experts believe are overblown links to terrorist financing and other illicit activity.

The rules in the works at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network through the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 aim to uncover what lawmakers have argued is a billion-dollar industry for the illicit trade of antiques and fine art.

But if small businesses aren’t exempt, the rules would weaken a sector of the industry that is still reeling from the impacts of COVID-19 with costly and time-consuming reporting requirements, industry attorneys said. Continue reading “Article: FinCEN Rules Seen As Potential ‘Killer’ Of Art, Antique Shops”

Article: Are Nonfungible Tokens Subject to US Anti-Money Laundering Requirements?

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Are Nonfungible Tokens Subject to US Anti-Money Laundering Requirements?

Jamie Boucher, Eytan Fisch, 19 April 2021

Rapidly growing interest in nonfungible tokens (NFTs) has been fueled by recent headlines of multimillion-dollar transactions, such as the $69 million sale of an NFT by digital artist Beeple — the third-highest price ever paid for the work of a living artist. An NFT is a certificate of ownership stored on a blockchain typically associated with a digital asset, such as art, videos, music, games, or tweets. Unlike certain other virtual assets on the blockchain, such as cryptocurrencies, NFTs are unique or “nonfungible.”

While the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)1 has not yet indicated whether certain NFT market participants (e.g., creators, sellers, dealers, marketplace operators) are or may become subject to U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) regulatory requirements, recent developments and concerns of U.S. lawmakers and regulators regarding the financial crime risks associated with virtual assets make regulatory scrutiny of NFTs likely..

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Article: INSIGHT: U.S. cryptocurrency regulatory path appears long and complex

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Todd Ehret, 06 April 2021

Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, and essentially all digital assets have surged in price recently amid surging interest by the public, investors of all types, and the financial industry. Despite a steadily growing acceptance and anticipation of a crypto-friendly regulatory environment under the new administration in Washington, the future regulatory framework for digital assets is complex and uncertain. Continue reading “Article: INSIGHT: U.S. cryptocurrency regulatory path appears long and complex”

Article: Five ways Biden could crack down on dirty money and financial secrecy

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Five ways Biden could crack down on dirty money and financial secrecy

Brenda Medina, 01 April 2021

Early rhetoric from the Biden administration has encouraged anti-corruption advocates that the new president’s tenure in the White House may mark a turning point in the fight against dirty money and tax haven abuse — two overlapping problems made worse by a veil of secrecy that shields vast sums of money from tax collectors and law enforcement authorities.

“We will crack down on tax havens and illicit financing that contribute to income inequality, fund terrorism, and generate pernicious foreign influence,” the administration’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, released last month, says, identifying the fight against global corruption as a top security priority. The strategy mirrors promises Joe Biden made during his candidacy.

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Article: SEC Puts Brokers On Notice For Money Laundering Concerns

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SEC Puts Brokers On Notice For Money Laundering Concerns

Al Barbarino, 31 March 2021

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission isn’t satisfied with the way broker-dealers are responding to and reporting suspicious activities, and a wave of enforcement actions could follow if these regulated entities don’t fall in line with the agency’s latest warning on the matter, industry attorneys say.

Redoubling its efforts to keep brokers in check when it comes to their anti-money laundering, or AML, obligations, the agency in a Monday risk alert sought to “remind” the regulated entities of their duties to report suspicious activities tied to penny stocks, unregistered securities and other high-risk transactions that have swelled up amid COVID-19.  Continue reading “Article: SEC Puts Brokers On Notice For Money Laundering Concerns”

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 and Hena Vora,  29 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: Continue reading “Article: FinCEN’s $390 Million Case Against Capital One – And What It Means For AML Enforcement”

Article: California Department of Justice Secures $5.3 Million Settlement from Artichoke Joe’s Casino In the San Francisco Bay Area

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California Department of Justice Secures $5.3 Million Settlement from Artichoke Joe’s Casino In the San Francisco Bay Area

Sierra Sun Times,  27 March 2021

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thurday announced a settlement in which Artichoke Joe’s Casino in San Bruno agreed to pay a penalty of $5.3 million for misleading gambling regulators and violating the Bank Secrecy Act, a federal law intended to combat money laundering. The casino is a 51-table cardroom with the eighth largest gross gambling revenue in the state. After the cardroom failed to timely or accurately report an investigation by the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), DOJ’s Bureau of Gambling Control (Bureau) initiated a license disciplinary proceeding against the casino and its owners. Today’s settlement includes the largest agreed-upon penalty in the history of California gambling regulation.

Under California’s Gambling Control Act of 1998, casinos are required to make timely, full, and true disclosure to gambling regulators. The Bureau determined that Artichoke Joe’s Casino was in violation of the law when it failed to accurately report, reveal, or disclose in a timely manner that FinCEN or any other federal agency was examining the casino with respect to the Bank Secrecy Act and that the casino and FinCEN were in negotiations that could result in the casino’s admission of Bank Secrecy Act violations. Later, as part of the settlement reached with FinCEN, the casino admitted to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, and the Bureau amended its allegations to include the admission. Continue reading “Article: California Department of Justice Secures $5.3 Million Settlement from Artichoke Joe’s Casino In the San Francisco Bay Area”

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”