HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 26Issue 33FinCEN ISSUES STATEMENT ON ENFORCEMENT OF BANK SECRECY ACT

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently issued a statement addressing its approach to enforcing the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The BSA applies broadly to “financial institutions,” which include not only banks, but also casinos and card clubs. FinCEN will take enforcement action resulting from BSA violations based upon applicable statutes and regulations. Regulated parties will have the opportunity to respond to and contest factual findings or legal conclusions made by FinCEN during the course of any enforcement action.

The statement outlines the actions that FinCEN may take to address violations, including:

  • No Action: FinCEN may close a matter, or reopen the matter if it becomes aware of new information.
  • Warning Letter: FinCEN may issue a supervisory letter or other communication.
  • Equitable Remedies: FinCEN may seek an injunction or equitable relief when there has been or will be a violation of the BSA.
  • Settlements: FinCEN may require remedial measures and civil money penalties as part of a settlement agreement.
  • Civil Money Penalties: FinCEN may assess a civil money penalty.
  • Criminal Referral: FinCEN may refer a matter to law enforcement agencies for criminal investigation or prosecution.

“FinCEN is committed to being transparent about its approach to BSA enforcement. It is not a ‘gotcha’ game,” said FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco. “The information required by the BSA saves lives, and protects our communities and people from harm. It is a national security issue.”

FinCEN considers many factors when evaluating potential violations of the BSA. FinCEN will consider compliance with the BSA requirements, in addition to the adequacy of an anti-money laundering program. FinCEN’s main goals in enforcement are proportionality, consistency, and effectiveness.

Some of the factors that FinCEN considers include:

  • Nature and seriousness of the violation, including extent of possible harm to the public and amounts involved.
  • Impact of the violation on FinCEN’s mission to safeguard the financial system.
  • Pervasiveness of wrongdoing within an entity, and the management’s knowledge or complicity of the violations.
  • History of similar violations and other regulatory, civil, or criminal actions.
  • Financial gain resulting from the violation.
  • Response to or remedial measures taken after discovery of the violation.
  • Timely and voluntary disclosure of the violations to FinCEN.
  • Quality and extent of cooperation with FinCEN and other relevant agencies.
  • Systemic nature of violations.
  • Whether another agency took enforcement action for related activity.

For more information and to read the full statement, click here.


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