This Week in AML

Information Sharing - It Really Works!

This week John and Elliot discuss the recent FinCEN recognition of a number of organizations related to the use of a Bank Secrecy Act, how they are using the data to aid in law enforcement efforts. They go through a handful of the examples listed in the document, and also talk about how friends of the show made FinCEN's list!


Information Sharing – It Really Works! TRANSCRIPT

Elliot Berman: Hi, John, how are you this week? 

John Byrne: Hey, Elliot. Good - wanted to remind folks that we did a nice webinar this week on corruption that'll at some point be available for download and I think they'll get some value out of that. So wanted to highlight that for the folks.

Elliot Berman: Yeah, it was a really good program - interesting. Lots of interesting perspectives. And I think as you and the panel pointed out, it's important for people to keep remembering that corruption really is just another facet of the various financial crimes that we're constantly encountering. 

John Byrne: Yeah, exactly. 

Elliot Berman: So this week FinCEN recognized a number of organizations related to the use of a Bank Secrecy Act data in law enforcement efforts. And there's a number of case situations that they highlight - I'm assuming you saw [it]? 

John Byrne: Yeah, I listened to what I think is there's a couple of things to call out about that one  - what you just said, that obviously the utility of data. So that's important because as we know, the AML act that was signed into law earlier this year, has several studies on looking at data and efficiency.

So this is FinCEN and law enforcement's efforts to explain the value proposition, which is always useful in the second part of it is to recognize as you and I do, the number of partners that FinCEN has both at the state and federal level that depend upon BSA data. So I think both of those things are pretty important for our community to highlight and when these things occur it's not just valuable, but it answers the question “what happens with data?”.

Elliot Berman: Correct. And to your point, I'm not just going to read right down the list of the organizations that are highlighted, but as part of one, this was a COVID fraud situation, but they specially identified the SBAs office of inspector general. Not a group that you often think about but they're out there.

The secret service, of course, DEA, Homeland, Alaska State Troopers, IRS CI, and then an organization that you and I know a fair amount of out the Washington Baltimore HIDTA initiative. And that is by its very nature, a cooperative effort between federal law enforcement and state level law enforcement.

And then the New York county district attorney's office, so a wide variety of folks using data to interdict, a wide variety of criminal and fraudulent activities, right? 

John Byrne: Yeah. And then going to the SAR review team that you mentioned, the Washington, Baltimore HIDTA are our colleagues and staunch supporters of the community, Steve Gurdak and Stacy Ivy who have both been on podcasts and webinars for us. 

Steve has been tremendous over time in reaching out to the private sector to expand our knowledge base, but also to hear from the private sector. So I think it's important that we recognize that FinCEN as identified their group in this particular event.

And the thing that, you know just reading from the description and people should take a look at it when they get a chance, is that the investigation was about a money laundering, and operation use of funnel accounts. Funnel accounts, a big issue for us in the AML community, and the individual identified was arrested, pled guilty, sentence of 10 years in prison.

So it's a really great example of the utility of looking at the BSA filings, which we know that Stacy and Steve and their colleagues look at; so this is a perfect example of going from point A to point B in terms of BSA. 

Elliot Berman: Yeah. And just, I think this is a, it's a one-page press release.

It's a high-level description of these interactions, but I think as people look at it, you realize that there's all kinds of interactions among both federal and state agencies. There's also a lot of different - this is another chance to take a look at from a certain vantage point - a lot of different typologies.

What kinds of things are going on out there? These are a few that are highlighted, obviously not a complete list but important, lots of transnational things, lots of cyber elements in what's going on some virtual currency elements since what's going all things right. You, and I have talked about on this podcast series and, and the community continues to think about and look at. This is a nice refresher of what, what's happened recently. And it's a form of information sharing by FinCEN, that we in the community should take advantage of.

John Byrne:  Yeah. And real quick last point - another example of what we talk about all the time. The one that IRS CI has identified in is a prototypical money laundering by real estate scheme, right?

It's illicit activity of a licensed real estate broker who buys all these properties with structured cash deposits. The transactional data gets funneled if you will, to law enforcement that they said based on that, we think that purchasing real estate for a suspected drug trafficker, and that led also to this case like 14 months of imprisonment. So again, another example of things that, like you said, crypto real estate, cyber, all these things that we need to stay on. 

Elliot Berman: Yep. And we'll try to bring you information about all of them as they unfold each week here on This Week In AML. 

So I'll do the shameless plug. If you like this, we're out every week. So please go to Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts and subscribe. And you'll also find a lot of our other podcasts there, and there's lots of great content on our website, www.amlrightsource.com as well. 

So John, you have a great weekend and be safe.

John Byrne: Take care of Elliot. Talk to you next week. 

Elliot Berman: Bye-bye.