Anti-money laundering law: denunciation
This is the fourth part of the series devoted to the Anti-Money Laundering Law of 2020, commonly known as the Business Transparency Law (the Law), the objective of which is to help with the collection of data. on the beneficial ownership of bank customers of legal persons. Part 2, available here, discussed the reasons for the establishment of the Banking Secrecy Law (BSA) and the reason for the promulgation of the Company Transparency Law in 2020. He also discussed the information currently collected by banks and which must be reported to a central Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) data agency within the next two years. Part 3, available here, discussed the wide range of exclusions from reporting requirements, including those for public companies as well as businesses with more than 20 full-time employees, reporting more than $ 5 million in revenue. annual reports to the Internal Revenue Service, and have an operational presence in a physical office in the United States.
Whistleblowing can be lucrative. In its annual report to Congress on its whistleblower program, The Securities and Exchange Commission announced payments of $ 564 million in fiscal 2021, more awards than all previous years combined. With the administration’s emphasis on white collar crime, the substantial whistleblower prices contained in the law will certainly increase these numbers in the future.
Previously, compensation payable to a whistleblower was capped at the lesser of $ 150,000 or 25% of the net amount of the fine or penalty. By law, whistleblowers who reveal original information about anti-money laundering (AML) violations to FinCEN or the Department of Justice would be entitled to up to 30% of the total monetary penalties imposed. if these penalties exceed $ 1 million in total. The law also includes a number of additional retaliation protections for whistleblowers. Since the pre-statutory reporting requirements were strictly for banks, banks have operated under these sanctions for years and whistleblowers would necessarily be bank employees. With the expansion of reporting requirements to businesses, whistleblowers can now be employees of reporting businesses, and the law could apply to a business that has falsely reported an exemption or false information about the business structure. .
In addition to providing incentives to whistleblowers, the law imposes significant penalties on businesses and individuals who violate BSA / AML requirements. A civil fine of $ 500 per day can be imposed for willful failure to comply as well as criminal penalties of up to $ 10,000 and up to two years in prison. Anyone found guilty of violating a BSA provision must return their profits or bonuses. For repeat offenders, the penalty can be up to three times the profit made. For gross violations, someone could be banned from banking for 10 years from conviction. For concealment violations, defined as “having knowledge of a cover-up, forgery, misrepresentation or attempt to do any of the above”, a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $ 1 million or both may be imposed.
In summary, money laundering or terrorist financing has been a dangerous world for the banks charged with controlling such activity as well as for money launderers and terrorist financiers themselves. The dangers have now spread to the corporate world, which has been largely immune from these risks except to answer banks’ seemingly endless questions about ownership. This risk of whistleblower reporting and sanctions will now also apply to US companies. Hopefully American businesses won’t be taken by surprise.
 SEC 2021 Annual Report to Congress, Whistleblower Program.
 Address of Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco at ABA 36e The National Institute on White Collar Crime discusses priorities. (October 28, 2021)