The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division initiated 19 percent fewer investigations and recommended nearly 900 fewer prosecutions in fiscal year 2014 than in the previous year, the agency said in a report Tuesday.
Sometimes a decline in bank enforcement actions isn't a good thing, even for bankers. Such is the takeaway of a review of enforcement action data spanning back five years, during which the number of formal Bank Secrecy Act penalties fell nearly 20 percent while fines and regulatory demands grew.
In a year when the number of enforcement actions issued by federal financial regulators fell by nearly half, Bank Secrecy Act-related penalties earned an unusual distinction. They declined by less than 14 percent.
With plenty of convincing reasons, representatives of the law enforcement and compliance industry say the coming year is fraught with serious challenges.
Relative to the year before, the anti-money laundering (AML) compliance industry drew few headlines over the past 12 months, and yet no one would tell you their job got any easier.
Fines and monetary settlements paid in 2012 by banks for anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing violations increased 131-fold from the previous year, ACAMS moneylaundering.com data shows.
Though none can predict the future, one thing in the AML world seems certain: the jobs of compliance officers won't get any easier in 2013.
The number of federal anti-money laundering enforcement actions issued in the first half of 2012 fell by 35 percent in comparison to the total levied during the same period last year, data shows.
The total number of anti-money laundering enforcement fines handed down by federal regulators rose by 67 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year.
The number of anti-money laundering enforcement actions handed down by federal banking regulators rose nearly 48 percent in the first six months of 2011 compared to the same period last year, data shows.
Federal banking regulators are increasingly relying on informal actions to pressure banks to improve their anti-money laundering programs out of the public spotlight, say compliance professionals.
High regulatory fines for anti-money laundering and sanctions violations have prodded U.S. financial institutions to reinvest in their transaction monitoring software over the past two years, a Boston-based research firm said.
The number of annual federal banking fines for anti-money laundering violations rose by nearly fourfold in 2010, while the total dollar amount of the monetary penalties rose to over $660 million, according to Moneylaundering.com/ComplianceAdvantage data.
The total regulatory fines issued by the United States against financial institutions for anti-money laundering compliance problems fell by 90 percent in 2009 from the total levied in 2008, according to ComplianceAdvantage.com data.
Bank closings and enforcement actions for capital requirement and credit risk violations didn't preclude law enforcement and regulatory officials from pursuing banks for violating U.S. and international sanctions in 2009 or from leaning on financial institutions to catch tax cheats.
Banking regulators issued 23 enforcement actions in the first half of 2009, slightly more than for the same period in 2008, according to Inform data.
Federal regulators are not giving banks any free passes when it comes to anti-money laundering compliance despite a flurry of loan-related enforcement actions, according to an analysis of recent penalty orders.