Credit union employees responsible for Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) compliance and reporting feel the burden of their work, but they don’t always see the connection to law enforcement actions.
But BSA reporting does have real-world implications, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
FinCEN’s annual Law Enforcement Awards ceremony showcases the impact of financial institution reporting, including:
►Taking down a large criminal drug organization. “Law enforcement seized 16 firearms, 14 kilos of cocaine, 12 pounds of marijuana, 90 grams of crack cocaine, 153 grams of heroin, 75 oxycodone pills, $200,000 in cash, and several vehicles. Coordinated efforts resulted in the arrest and indictment of 55 individuals.”
►Flipping a suspected money launder to disrupt transnational organized crime. “Investigators identified members of this criminal organization operating from all over the world. Analysis of financial activity indicated that this organization was bringing in $100 million to $300 million in annual criminal proceeds in North America alone.”
►Shining light on illegal activities on the dark web. Several targets suspected of selling narcotics on the web and distributing them throughout the country through the U.S. Postal Service were arrested.
“The targets only accepted payment for the narcotics in the form of Bitcoin. The Bitcoins were then sent through a Bitcoin “blender” to conceal their source. The Bitcoins would then be redistributed back to the targets through several Bitcoin exchangers before being converted into U.S. dollars and deposited into several bank accounts.”
►Uncovering massive defense contract fraud. An investigation showed that a U.S. military official received bribes from an individual in exchange for sensitive bidding data, including competitors' bid amounts and actual government estimates.
“Investigators seized $12.3 million in assets from the primary target and his employer and the military official, including real property, vehicles, boats, aircrafts, firearms, gold coins, and bank accounts.”
►Knocking out an illegal third-party money laundering organization. “Investigators discovered that the company was importing U.S. dollars and Mexican pesos from casas de cambio [currency exchange] in Mexico and depositing them into shell company bank accounts that were opened and operated by the two individuals who owned and operated the company.”
“These success stories highlight the value of our ongoing efforts to strengthen partnerships to combat money laundering, fraud, corruption, criminal trafficking, and other illicit activities,” says Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
The next CUNA Bank Secrecy Act Conference, presented in partnership with the National Association of Credit Union Supervisors, will convene Nov. 12-15 in Las Vegas.
Dedicated to examining the Bank Secrecy Act, anti-money laundering, and credit unions’ role in fighting financial crime, the event allows attendees to earn the Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Specialist designation.