Financial Regulatory Forum

New U.S. FinCEN director must bolster agency under pressure over Iran sanctions, money laundering

By Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - When former Justice Department official Jennifer Shasky Calvery takes the reins at the U.S. Treasury Department’s anti-money laundering bureau on Monday, her first job is to revive the beleaguered agency amid pressure over Iran sanctions and money-laundering enforcement, sources said.

Shasky Calvery is a former prosecutor who cut her teeth dismantling international organized crime groups and tracking down their money. She will need all her leadership and diplomacy skills to boost the bureau’s morale, which has plummeted with the loss of skilled leaders and withering criticism from many fronts, and outline the policies with which she will make her mark as the new head of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). (more…)

Record-setting bank forfeiture at ING ignites debate over lack of banker prosecutions

By Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, June 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – A lack of any criminal prosecutions associated with the U.S. government’s deal last week in which Dutch bank ING agreed to forfeit a record $619 million for helping Iranians and Cubans pump billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system has drawn accusations that U.S. law enforcement agencies would rather collect fines than punish individual executives. (more…)

Enforcement against Citibank serves as reminder that compliance counts in product development

By Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, April 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A financial institution’s anti-money laundering team must have the authority to question account relationships and business plans, and any objections must be taken seriously. That was one of the key lessons to be learned from the last week’s regulatory enforcement action against Citibank over AML weaknesses, experts said.

A provision of the cease-and-desist (C&D) order, levied by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), obliges Citibank to ensure that its compliance staff has the authority to implement a Bank Secrecy Act compliance program “and, as needed, question account relationships and business plans.”  (more…)

U.S. Treasury wants financial institutions to help combat identity theft-related tax frauds

By Brett Wolf

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - U.S. Treasury Department reminded financial institutions of their obligation to lend a hand as the Internal Revenue Service struggles to crack down on rampant schemes using identity theft to obtain fraudulent tax refunds via electronic filings.

“Financial institutions are critical in identifying tax refund fraud because the methods for tax-refund distribution – direct deposit into demand deposit accounts, issuance of paper checks, and direct deposit into prepaid access card accounts – are often negotiated and deposited at various financial services providers,” Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) stated in an advisory issued Friday. (more…)

U.S. financial institutions seen lacking anti-corruption policies for domestic politicians

By Brett Wolf

ST. LOUIS/NEW YORK, March 7 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Despite an international push for financial institutions to crack down on corruption and money laundering linked to political figures, it remains unclear how firms in the United States and abroad will respond.

Some U.S. financial institutions say they have taken steps to address the specific corruption and money laundering risks associated with American political figures and those close to them. Others say they have not, and to date, regulators’ expectations are unclear.  (more…)

Some U.S. banks awash in ID theft tax-fraud proceeds as IRS cracks down

By Brett Wolf

NEW YORK, Feb. 3 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Despite a new federal crackdown announced this week aimed at combating tax refund fraud involving the use of stolen identities, current law enforcement efforts are not enough and fraudsters are still pumping massive sums of tax fraud proceeds through U.S. banks, sources told Thomson Reuters.

“IRS and Justice should have been doing this three years ago. This widespread criminal activity is more profitable than drug dealing,” said regulatory consultant and investigator Jim Dowling, a former Internal Revenue Service criminal investigator special agent who also acted as an anti-money laundering (AML) advisor to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  (more…)

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