November 02, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Nowadays, money laundering in the U.S. and internationally is often related to terroristic activity and illegal drug transactions
. Now that the worst part of the financial-institution crisis seems to have passed, government regulators are turning their attention again to more traditional matters like oversight of the banking system's compliance with anti-money-laundering laws, regulations and requirements.
The federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has historically enforced money-laundering safeguards against banks, but the agency was criticized this past summer by members of Congress for lax oversight. The New York Times reports that the OCC has since accelerated the pace of its bank oversight.
Going forward, in addition to the OCC, the federal Department of Justice's money-laundering and bank-integrity unit plans to sharply increase enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act, or BSA, the federal statute that requires financial institutions to employ strict internal compliance systems, and to report and control suspicious transactions (especially in cash) that smack of potential money laundering.
The BSA casts a wide net over financial institutions, reaching illegal activity within not only traditional banks, but also in entities like credit unions, those dealing in securities, insurance companies and even casinos.
According to Reuters, the new DOJ unit is focusing directly on the white collar crime
of money laundering in and of itself, rather than merely adding it as another criminal count in the charges for the underlying crime that generated the illicit funds. The unit is also looking at new technologies that could potentially support money-laundering transactions.
What is money laundering?
A basic definition of money laundering is when a person transfers money (or a money equivalent) that came from an illegal activity (or is going to finance one) through a financial institution or similar legal entity in order to make the origin of the funds more difficult to trace. In other words, the money launderer puts tainted money into the lawful stream of money to blend it in and make it hard to identify, like the financial equivalent of getting lost in the crowd.
Money laundering is a federal crime that subjects a convicted defendant to a fine up to $500,000, a prison term up to 20 years, or both. Anyone convicted of a federal money-laundering offense is also liable to the U.S. government for a civil penalty up to $10,000. A money-laundering crime may also be a state crime. In Texas, for example, money laundering is a felony under state law.
If you are being investigated for or charged with a federal or state money-laundering crime, whether for questionable money transactions or as a bank official or employee, speak with an experienced white collar criminal defense lawyer to understand your legal rights and to build a vigorous defense.
Article provided by Patrick L. Hancock
Visit us at www.hancockcriminaldefense.com---
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