FinCEN Releases First Advisory on COVID-19 Illicit Activity, Including New Red Flags for Potential COVID-19 Fraud and Scams
On May 18, 2020, the Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released its first advisory to financial institutions about detecting and preventing COVID-19 fraud. The guidance provides financial institutions with 22 red flag indicators to help identify potential illicit activity related to the pandemic, such as price gouging and hoarding medical supplies; fraudulent cures, tests, and vaccines; and non-delivery scams. FinCEN plans to issue additional advisories about financial crimes related to the pandemic in the future.
On April 17, 2020, in United States v. Costanzo, the Ninth Circuit upheld the conviction of a defendant under the â€œstingâ€ money laundering provision, ruling that the defendant's bitcoin sales to undercover agents had the requisite effect on interstate commerce as the sales used internet-enabled and cellular network connected devices.
Time is Running Out to Disclose Hidden Foreign Assets and Receive Amnesty from Criminal Prosecution, IRS Says
The IRS has announced that it is ending its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) in September, 2018. The OVDP currently is the only available mechanism for U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed foreign assets to come into compliance with U.S. tax and foreign asset reporting laws and eliminate the risk of related criminal exposure. Taxpayers who still have undisclosed offshore financial accounts and other assets have roughly six months to send a completed disclosure package to the IRS; the process of crafting and submitting a disclosure can be lengthy so taxpayers should not delay.
New York Proposed Cybersecurity Regulations: A Predictor of Things to Come for the Finance and Insurance Industries
The proposed regulations would be the most prescriptive data security requirements yet to be imposed. They would require all covered financial institutions and insurers to establish and maintain cybersecurity programs and policies addressing a list of minimum requirements, "to the extent applicable to the Covered Entity's operations."
Peter Hardy interviews former Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI), Victor Song, about the future of international tax enforcement. International enforcement has been a top priority for the IRS for many years, and Mr. Song, who now leads his own consulting firm, has had a critical role in that effort.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with my former law professor, Brandon Garrett, about the DOJ's Swiss bank program. Professor Garrett is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, and author of the recent book Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations. Professor Garrett has written and spoken extensively about white collar corporate prosecutions and the use of non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements in the corporate prosecution context.
The Appointment of SEC Administrative Law Judges: Constitutional Questions and Consequences for Enforcement Actions
In a June 2015 article for Bloomberg BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report, Principal Peter D. Hardy, and Associates Abraham J. Rein and Carolyn H.Kendall examine recent constitutional challenges to the Securities & Exchange Commission's (SEC) administrative proceedings and the administrative law judges (ALJ) that adjudicate them.
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Pursues New Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Banks' Anti-Money Laundering Programs
In the December 2014 issue of PABanker, the magazine of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Principal Peter D. Hardy and Associate Carolyn H. Kendall explore the obligation being added to the already significant requirements of banks' Anti-Money Laundering (AML) programs.
Pennsylvania Bank Consents to $1.5 Million Assessment for Failing to File Required Suspicious Activity Reports Regarding Transactions by Bank Insider
On February 27, 2015, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) assessed a $1.5 million civil monetary penalty against the First National Community Bank of Dunmore, Pennsylvania for willful violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
In the April 18 issue of Bloomberg BNA's White Collar Crime Report, Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Principal Peter D. Hardy and Associate Mehreen Zaman examine how virtual currency, like bitcoin, may become an option for tax evaders as offshore banking has become the focus of vigorous tax enforcement by U.S. officials.
In an April 2014 article for American Lawyer Media's Business Crimes Bulletin, Principal Barbara Rowland explores recent changes in the law surrounding use and distribution of marijuana. In particular, Ms. Rowland analyzes how models and standards from other highly regulated industries may help enterprises considering entry into the legal marijuana industry, including entrepreneurs and financial institutions.