The AMLA contains many anti-money laundering reforms such as instituting new penalties on those convicted of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations and imposing stronger due diligence requirements. Perhaps most notably, the AMLA now requires companies, including foreign entities conducting business in the U.S., to disclose the true owner of the business at the time the company is formed or if ownership changes. This is to combat criminals who use “front” or “shell” companies to facilitate illegal activities, such as human trafficking, weapons trafficking, tax evasion, and other financial crimes.
One of the main ways the federal government aims to target money laundering is by rewarding individuals who come forward with information about financial crimes. Section 6314 of the AMLA establishes a whistleblower reward program at the Department of the Treasury similar to the successful whistleblower program run by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The AMLA Whistleblower Program incentivizes whistleblowers to come forward with valuable information about money laundering schemes and other financial crimes. Whistleblowers who come forward with information about Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations or money laundering violations that lead to successful enforcement action are now entitled to an award of up to 30% of money seized by the Treasury Department on sanctions over $1 million. This is a large improvement over the previous guidelines which made whistleblower awards discretionary and capped whistleblower recoveries at $150,000.
Under the new whistleblower program, whistleblowers are permitted to report violations anonymously when they are represented by counsel. The Treasury Department is required to maintain the confidentiality of whistleblower information and protect whistleblower identities. The AMLA also provides protections for whistleblowers against retaliation.
The hope is that the expansion of anti-money laundering legislation will drive away dirty money and help investigators detect and halt money laundering fraud schemes. Still, whistleblowers will be key in identifying and prosecuting this fraud. Individuals with original information about Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations or money laundering schemes should contact an experienced whistleblower attorney for assistance.
With more than 30 years of experience, the attorneys on Baron & Budd’s whistleblower representation team have represented dozens of clients in government fraud cases returning over $5.4 billion to federal and state agencies, with whistleblower recovery shares as high as 49%. They are ready to help if you have evidence of money laundering.
Please call (866) 401-5971 or complete our contact form if you would like more information. For more information, see What You Need to Know About Becoming a Whistleblower. Please understand that contacting us does not mean that you have established an attorney-client relationship with Baron & Budd, P.C.