When FinCEN restructured its reporting hierarchy, the bureau signaled a subtle but important shift for banks: some of the energy it had once spent toward improving compliance would now serve to penalize regulatory violators, says former Assistant Director for the Office of Compliance Tom Fleming.
The U.S. government's financial intelligence unit will resume an abandoned practice of fining banks for Bank Secrecy Act violations apart from the enforcement actions it works on with federal regulators, say sources.
The conviction of a payment processor accused of aiding Internet gambling companies highlights the compliance hurdles anti-money laundering officers face when maintaining accounts for merchant transactions, say bank and law enforcement officials.
Undercover investigators, acting as a phony payment processor, used U.S. bank accounts to see how offshore gambling operations transacted more than $30 million with their American clients, according to federal prosecutors.
The U.S. Justice Department is seeking $3 billion in forfeitures and fines from three of the largest online gambling businesses and the financial institutions and individuals that helped to process bets.
Finding themselves locked out of some large U.S. banks because of compliance concerns, third-party payment processors are increasingly turning to small- and mid-sized institutions for financial services, say consultants.
Recent enforcement actions and guidance suggest that U.S. banking examiners are ratcheting up their scrutiny of how banks monitor payment processors for anti-money laundering risks.
Wachovia Bank will pay up to $125 million to compensate victims of a telemarketing fraud conducted through accounts at the bank and a $10 million civil penalty under agreements reached with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.