Bank Secrecy Act Violations

Just like in any other good regulatory enforcement program, at the end of the day the regulators depend on the laws and the punishments applicable under those laws to keep the banks in compliance. In the case of the banking and financial industry, the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”), Anti-Money Laundering Laws (“AML”), and the USA PATRIOT Act are the laws relied on by regulators to keep the nation’s banks and financial institutions safe, secure, and free from money laundering and other financial crimes.

Banks and other Financial Institutions are required to report transfers of funds in compliance with the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act. Congress passed the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act in 1970, otherwise known as the “Bank Secrecy Act.” It outlined requirements for record keeping and reporting by private individuals, banks, and other financial institutions. The law was designed to help identify the source, volume, and movement of currency and other monetary instruments transported or transmitted into or out of the United States or deposited in financial institutions. It seeks to achieve that objective by requiring individuals, banks, and other financial institutions to file currency reports with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to properly identify persons conducting transactions, and to maintain appropriate records of such financial transactions. These records enable law enforcement and regulatory agencies to pursue investigations of criminal, tax, and regulatory violations, if warranted, and provide evidence useful in prosecuting money laundering and other financial crimes.

In 1986, the Money Laundering Control Act was passed and effectively precluded circumvention of the BSA requirements by assigning and placing criminal liability to an individual, bank, or institution that knowingly assists in the laundering of money or intentionally structures transactions in such a way so as to avoid the reporting requirements. Further, the law required banks to establish and maintain procedures to assure and monitor compliance with the reporting and record keeping requirement of the BSA. Thus, on January 27, 1987, all federal bank regulatory agencies issued essentially similar regulations requiring banks to develop procedures for BSA compliance.

On October 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 into law in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York. The Patriot Act dramatically expanded the authority of law enforcement in fighting terrorism in the United States and abroad, particularly with respect to the financing of terrorist and other criminal activities by imposing strict requirements on financial.

At Thorn Law Group, we are well-versed in the Bank Secrecy Act and related banking and financial services regulatory laws. If you are accused of violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any related laws, contact Thorn Law Group Managing Partner Kevin E. Thorn at 202 349-4033 so we can begin discussing your rights and options.




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