BSA/AML violations can cost you!

Recently the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) made its annual inflation adjustment to its civil monetary penalty amounts.  News headlines are full of the large institutional fines but you must remember under various statutes, credit unions and individuals are subject to criminal and civil liability for violating anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws. And, these penalties can be severe.  The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) Examination Manual outlines potential penalties:

“A person convicted of money laundering can face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Any property involved in a transaction or traceable to the proceeds of the criminal activity, including property such as loan collateral, personal property, and, under certain conditions, entire bank accounts (even if some of the money in the account is legitimate), may be subject to forfeiture. … the U.S. Department of Justice may bring criminal actions for money laundering that may include criminal fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture actions. In addition, banks risk losing their charters, and bank employees risk being removed and barred from banking.”

Criminal penalties can be assessed for willful BSA regulation violations.  Any individual, including a credit union employee, found guilty of this is subject to criminal fines of up to $250,000 or five years in prison, or both.  If the individual commits a willful BSA violation while breaking another law or committing other criminal activity, he or she is subject to a fine of up to $500,000 or ten years in prison, or both. Violations of certain BSA provisions or special measures can make an institution subject to a criminal money penalty up to the greater of $1million or twice the value of the transaction.


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