- AML laws establish procedures for recording and reporting certain monetary transactions to ensure compliance and prevent money laundering.
- There are many laws and regulations established to combat money laundering and impose AML requirements on financial institutions and other entities.
- Multiple federal authorities have the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute money laundering offenses such as the FBI, DOJ, SEC, FinCEN, and the IRS, as some examples.
- The costs for violating AML standards can be significant, including criminal penalties, forfeiture, jail time, and business and reputational losses.
- Consider placing an experienced attorney on your side to provide counsel on the application of federal AML statutes to your case.
About Our Anti-Money Laundering Defense Law Firm
If you need advice regarding anti-money laundering laws (“AML”) or are worried about compliance, do not hesitate to contact our anti-money laundering team today.
An allegation of money laundering or investigation into allegedly poor AML compliance procedures could be disastrous for your company. Do everything possible to defend your rights and career. We are here to help.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our attorneys are recognized leaders in defending against money laundering and insufficient AML compliance programs. We are a prominent national law firm employing the most skilled and diligent defense attorneys in the nation specialized to help you.
Our attorneys regularly advise companies, financial institutions such as banks, mutual funds, and other entities on a variety of anti-money laundering issues. We have the experience needed to evaluate a company’s existing AML policies and procedures against current regulatory standards for compliance.
We can advise you on internal controls and risk assessment strategies and provide legal advice regarding pending litigation and enforcement proceedings against you.
Put Oberheiden, P.C. on your side today to fight for your liberty and reputation.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is the process of making illegally obtained proceeds appear legitimate or clean. The process generally involves three steps:
- Placement: The illegally obtained funds are secretly placed into the legitimate financial process.
- Layering: The money is moved around multiple times to create confusion and further distance the funds from the initial illegal transaction (e.g., multiple wire transfers through multiple accounts).
- Integration: The funds are “integrated” via additional transactions until the money appears legitimate.
Money laundering is used by criminals to perpetrate other serious crimes such as drug trafficking and terrorism. It can have deleterious effects on both the national and global economies.
Anti-Money Laundering Laws
There is a mound of laws that combat money laundering and impose AML requirements on companies:
- The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (“BSA”): This Act establishes recordkeeping and reporting requirements for financial institutions, banks, individuals, and other entities subject to AML standards. It is designed to identify the amount and source of funds transmitted in or out of the United States. Some of the provisions of the Act require banks to (1) report cash transactions greater than $10,000; (2) identify the persons conducting the transactions; and (3) maintain a proper paper trail. The BSA is the chief AML law.
- The Money Laundering Control Act (1986): This Act makes money laundering a federal crime and provides for civil and criminal forfeiture for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. It directs banks to establish procedures for ensuring and monitoring compliance with the BSA’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
- The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988: This Act expands the definition of financial institution to include additional businesses such as real estate closing personnel. It requires these additional businesses to file reports on large currency transactions and requires identity verification of purchases over $3,000.
- The Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act (1992): This Act established the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (“BSAAG”) and requires that Suspicious Activity Reports be filed. It imposes verification requirements and recordkeeping standards for wire transfers and strengthens sanctions for violations of the BSA.
- The Money Laundering Suppression Act (1994): This Act requires banking agencies to review and enhance procedures for referring certain cases to federal enforcement agencies and to enhance and develop training and AML examination procedures. It mandates that each Money Services Business (“MSB”) be registered by an owner or controlling person of the MSB and makes it a federal crime for MSBs to operate as an unregistered MSB.
- The Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy Act (1998): This Act requires banking agencies to develop AML training for examiners. It created the High-Intensity Money Laundering and Related Financial Crime Area (“HIFCA”) Task Forces. The HIFCA’s goal is to focus law enforcement efforts at the federal, state, and local levels in areas where money laundering is widespread.
- The PATRIOT Act: This Act criminalizes the financing of terrorism and increases BSA standards by augmenting customer identification and verification procedures. It prohibits financial institutions from engaging in business with foreign shell banks and requires these financial institutions to have due diligence procedures enhanced. The PATRIOT Act expands the AML requirements to all financial institutions, increases the civil and criminal penalties for engaging in money laundering, and requires banks to respond to requests from regulatory agencies regarding records within 120 hours.
- The Intelligence Reform & Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004: This Act amends the BSA to require the Treasury Secretary to prescribe regulations that require financial institutions to report cross-border electronic transmittals in cases where the Secretary concludes that the reporting of this information is reasonably necessary to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
This list above is non-exhaustive but nonetheless dauting. Do not hesitate to get in touch with a qualified defense attorney to help with these issues.
Our attorneys can break down the above regulations and provide legal advice regarding your defense and compliance procedures to make you feel at ease.
Who is Subject to AML and Who Must Have AML Measures?
Both natural and legal persons can be prosecuted for money laundering. Various institutions and persons are required to carry AML measures and are subject to AML regulations, including:
- depository institutions, such as banks and credit unions
- mutual funds
- futures commission merchants
- money services businesses
- brokers and dealers
- insurance companies
Examples of Anti-Money Laundering Matters We Handle
There are many possible violations of a person or institution’s AML duties, including the following:
- failure to record and maintain the records of certain required transactions
- failure to file required reports of suspicious transactions over a certain amount
- evading the reporting or recordkeeping requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act
- omissions or misstatements in the required reports regarding suspicious transactions
- failure to implement, monitor, and maintain an effective AML compliance program
- failure of certain money services businesses (MSBs) to register with FinCEN
- disclosing or filing the results of the suspicious activity reports with entities or individuals other than the parties charged with such task
We offer advice, prepare defense strategies, and counsel our clients on allegations of the above.
In addition, our AML team handles the following on a regular basis:
- fostering effective AML compliance programs for financial institutions and other entities
- providing advice and defense regarding offshore transactions
- advising on a financial institution’s AML due diligence and internal controls
- providing legal opinions and other advice on the AML statutes and their application to the case at hand
Investigating Anti-Money Laundering Violations
Because money laundering is possible by any entity, individual, and at any level, there is significant government cooperation and prosecution efforts. Several federal agencies, therefore, have the authority and jurisdiction to investigate possible money laundering offenses.
Local U.S. Attorney’s offices are generally one of the first authorities to get involved in an investigation. The DOJ is also frequently involved with investigations of money laundering violations.
Other agencies routinely brought into an investigation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Federal agencies frequently rely on a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) or a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to resolve a case, which is an attractive alternative for defendants seeking to avoid prosecution but can nevertheless be very damaging.
Parties found to have engaged in money laundering or those who have failed to maintain adequate AML standards can be subject to multiple sanctions, including criminal fines, civil penalties, and the forfeiture or disgorgement of ill-gotten gains. Breaches could also result in significant jail time and loss of business and reputation.
In addition, financial institutions and other entities found to have violated AML regulations may have to operate in the future under stringent Treasury Department restrictions.
We can help eliminate or mitigate many of the stages of an investigation and prosecution. Do not wait to receive the legal advice you need.
Request a Free Initial Consultation at Oberheiden P.C.
For financial institutions and entities that violate AML regulations, the consequences could be severe.
You have invested time, energy, and money in your AML program. Do not let a protracted government investigation unravel your life’s work. If you believe there is an investigation pending, get in touch with an experienced defense attorney today.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our defense attorneys are highly specialized in the preparation of defense work regarding allegations of money laundering or ineffective AML programs. We assure you that no firm will work harder than Oberheiden, P.C. to give the best defense to you and your company.
Call or contact our office today for a free consultation and protect your liberty, reputation, and company.