FATF’s View of the Risks of Real Estate

By Elliot Berman | August 30, 2022
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF[1]) recently updated its Risk-Based Approach Guidance for the Real Estate Sector. This update was prompted by increasing risks of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) using real estate transactions. The guidance “provides real estate professionals involved in real estate transactions, with the requisite tools and examples to support the implementation of FATF standards enabling the implementation of a risk-based approach to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.”

Global Impact of Human Trafficking

By Elliot Berman | August 16, 2022
Trafficking in persons is the second largest black market in the world (the first is the illegal drug trade). It is estimated that human trafficking is more than a $150 billion industry with over 24.9 million victims around the globe. Human trafficking is divided into two broad categories – forced labor and sex trafficking.

Elder Financial Exploitation – A Problem That Isn’t Going Away

By Elliot Berman | July 27, 2022
Elder Financial Exploitation (EFE) is a global problem and is on the rise. One of several forms of elder abuse, this type includes theft, fraud, and exploiting the financial resources of older adults. The bad actors in these situations can be scammers, relatives, even a spouse. Older adults are targeted both because of their accumulated wealth and, in some cases, because of their declining physical and mental capabilities. Organizations around the world, including the World Health Organization, national health services, and financial regulators are focused on this issue.

Understanding European Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA)

By Elliot Berman | July 13, 2022
After two years of discussion and negotiation, the European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional agreement on the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA), a framework of regulations for digital asset businesses. The framework is subject to approval by the Council and Parliament and then must go through the formal adoption process. The agreement when adopted will provide a framework across the EU, bringing clarity to the covered issues; some EU members have already implemented national level regulations of crypto assets and businesses.

Has the Time Come for Adoption of Digital Asset Legislation in the US?

By Elliot Berman | June 21, 2022
U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) have introduced the Responsible Financial Innovation Act (also being referred to as “Lummis-Gillibrand”). The goal of the proposal is to create “…complete regulatory framework for digital assets that encourages responsible financial innovation, flexibility, transparency and robust consumer protections while integrating digital assets into existing law.” The legislation is noteworthy as a bipartisan effort to apply a clear regulatory structure to digital assets – including virtual or crypto currencies. Currently, regulation of digital assets is a patchwork of federal and state laws and interpretations, most of which have looked to squeeze digital assets into existing regulatory structures, mostly created years before the advent of digital assets.

FinCEN Wants Your Comments on How to Regulate Real Estate

By Elliot Berman | December 14, 2021
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Treasury Department, wants your help in deciding how to bring more of the real estate industry under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). In the December 8, 2021 edition of the Federal Register, FinCEN published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) - Anti-Money Laundering Regulations for Real Estate Transactions. The ANPRM asks for comments on “…potential requirements under the [BSA] for certain persons involved in real estate transactions to collect, report, and retain information.”

Where is FinCEN on Virtual Currencies?

By Elliot Berman | March 9, 2021
Virtual currencies (sometimes referred to as cryptocurrencies) continue to move into established commerce. The number of merchants accepting the currencies is growing, as are the number of people looking to the currencies as investment vehicles, and to use them for retail transactions. As virtual currencies have moved from techno-curiosities to mainstream commerce, FinCEN has issued a number of advisories and guidance about how the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regulatory structure apples to them. FinCEN is not the only agency addressing to virtual currency; for 2020 the IRS has added a yes or no question to the Form 1040 (used by individuals in the US to file federal income tax) that asks whether the taxpayer has acquired an interest in virtual currency.

FinCEN’s Updated Guidance on §314(b)

By Elliot Berman | December 21, 2020
Information sharing in the BSA/AML space is a topic of ongoing discussion and such an essential tool. I wrote about the value and the challenges in a prior post. One part of the US information sharing regime is Patriot Act §314(b).[1] Since its passage, FinCEN has issued guidance about the section on a number of occasions; the most recent in December 2020 through the issuance of an updated Fact Sheet. Section 314(b) established a process for financial service companies[2] (FIs) to share certain information under the protections of a safe harbor from liability for privacy law violations or from sharing false information. Participation under §314(b) is voluntary.

Fraud: In Stock for the Holidays

By Elliot Berman | November 13, 2020
Every year, fraud on consumers, sellers, and financial service providers increases during the holiday shopping season. This year, pandemic conditions have led to the reduction of brick-and-mortar shopping, and is driving more merchants online for the first time. This massive shift to online commerce with the inevitability of holiday fraud, sets the scene for a season that promises to be more challenging than financial crimes space is probably used to seeing.

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Press

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