FinCEN has levied a civil money penalty against Sarith Meas for violation of the registration and anti-money laundering requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and associated regulations issued pursuant to the BSA. Meas was fined $12,500 for the violations.
Full Settlement Agreement. Excerpts and summary below:
Meas acted as an independent money transmitter located in Maine operating out of Meas’s residence. Meas executed funds transfers for customers located in the United Stated. In a typical transaction, a customer provided Meas with cash, checks, or money orders, along with instructions to transmit funds to a specified beneficiary, and Meas deposited those funds into her U.S. deposit accounts. Once the funds cleared, Meas instructed U.S. financial institutions to wire transfer funds to designated financial institutions in Cambodia (a jurisdiction classified by the United States Department of State as suffering from money laundering deficiencies), where the funds were retrieved by Meas’ affiliate(s) and made physically available to beneficiaries in the designated currency.
Meas operated as an independent money transmitter by engaging as a business in the transfer of funds. She was required under the BSA to register as an MSB with FinCEN and implement a written anti-money laundering program. FinCEN determined that Meas was an unregistered money transmitter from January 2006 through October 2010, in violation of BSA registration requirements for money transmitters.
After considering the seriousness of the violations and the financial resources available to Meas, FinCEN has determined that the appropriate penalty in this matter is $12,500.
FinCEN has launched a new Money Services Business (MSB) registration website. The website is intended to help improve the availability of MSB registration information. The website will replace the MSB Registration lists that were previously available.
As part of FinCEN’s paperless efforts, FinCEN will no longer send acknowledgement letters to MSBs. MSB registration information will be available approximately two weeks after the MSB electronically files Form 107. If the MSB files the paper form, it will take 60 days before the registration is processed and posted on the MSB Registration Website.
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FinCEN assessed a $250,000 civil penalty against Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel of Morton, Minnesota. The casino violated Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements for casinos when it failed to implement internal controls for gathering and recording information required by the BSA as well as failed to implement adequate training for employees.
The Casino also failed to develop and implement effective procedures for the preparation, review and filing of BSA reports, resulting in multiple failures to timely and accurately file Currency Transaction Report by Casino forms (CTRCs) and Suspicious Activity Report by Casino forms (SARCs).
Full News Release
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) assessed civil penalties totaling $40,000 against two brothers for non-compliance with Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) money transmitter registration requirements. The brothers, doing business as Halal Depot of Wyoming, Michigan operated a money transmission business at their grocery store by sending funds on behalf of their customers to beneficiaries in Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Qatar, Europe and the United Arab Emirates. At no time did the Sufi brothers register with FinCEN as a money services business (MSB) as required by the BSA.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today announced assessment of a $25,000 civil money penalty against Victor Kaganov of Tigard, Oregon, for violating Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements for money transmitters. FinCEN determined that Kaganov violated BSA registration, anti-money laundering program, and suspicious activity reporting requirements while conducting an independent money transmitter business from his residence.
From July 2002 through March 2009, Kaganov conducted more than 4,200 funds transfers in the United States, involving total dollars amounting to more than $172 million, to and from a number of locations in Europe and Asia.
Department of Justice Press Release
FBI News Story March 7, 2011
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has released an advisory to financial institutions regarding spotting and reporting on activities involving elder financial exploitation. FinCEN released the advisory because financial institutions may be uniquely positioned to observe such exploitation.
The following examples are “red flags” that may necessitate the filing of SAR reports:
Erratic or unusual banking transactions, or changes in banking patterns:
- Frequent large withdrawals, including daily maximum currency withdrawals from an ATM;
- Sudden Non-Sufficient Fund activity;
- Uncharacteristic nonpayment for services, which may indicate a loss of funds or access to funds;
- Debit transactions that are inconsistent for the elder;
- Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money;
- Closing of CDs or accounts without regard to penalties.
Interactions with customers or caregivers:
- A caregiver or other individual shows excessive interest in the elder’s finances or assets, does not allow the elder to speak for himself, or is reluctant to leave the elder’s side during conversations;
- The elder shows an unusual degree of fear or submissiveness toward a caregiver, or expresses a fear of eviction or nursing home placement if money is not given to a caretaker;
- The financial institution is unable to speak directly with the elder, despite repeated attempts to contact him or her;
- A new caretaker, relative, or friend suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of the elder without proper documentation;
- The customer moves away from existing relationships and toward new associations with other “friends” or strangers;
- The elderly individual’s financial management changes suddenly, such as through a change of power of attorney to a different family member or a new individual;
- The elderly customer lacks knowledge about his or her financial status, or shows a sudden reluctance to discuss financial matters.
A SAR (Suspicious Activity Report) must be filed if a financial institution knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that a transaction has no business or apparent lawful purpose or is not the sort in which the particular customer would normally be expected to engage, and the financial institution knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts, including the background and possible purpose of the transaction, the financial institution should then file a Suspicious Activity Report. See, e.g., 31 CFR § 103.18(a) (future 31 CFR § 1020.320(a))