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OFAC offers compressed SDN file

OFAC has posted a compressed version of its SDN.XML file in order to provide bandwidth savings for users that frequently download the information. This new file compresses the SDN.XML file by approximately 92%.


FTC sends funds to money-scheme victims

The Federal Trade Commission has announced it is mailing 2,031 checks totaling more than $436,000 to people who lost money to Money Now Funding, a work-at-home scheme that conned people, including many seniors with limited income and savings, into thinking they could make money by referring merchants in their area to a non-existent money-lending service.


Two removed from OFAC list

OFAC has posted a notice that the names of two individuals linked to transnational criminal organizations have been deleted from the OFAC SDN List. See BankersOnline's OFAC update for the details.


FTC reins in money mule

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that a Florida man charged with helping telemarketers in India defraud cash-strapped American consumers will be banned from aiding any telemarketers in a settlement with the Commission. The proposed settlement resolves an FTC complaint against Joel S. Treuhaft and his company, PHLG Enterprises, LLC, who collected more than $1.5 million from about 3,000 consumers in a scheme that helped Indian call centers collect money from victims of IRS tax scams, government grant scams and advance-fee loan scams, among others.


FinCEN proposing SAR data fields revisions

FinCEN has published at 82 FR 9109 in the Federal Register a notice and request for comments on a proposed update and revisions to the collection of information filings by financial institutions required to file such reports under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). This notice does not propose any new regulatory requirements or changes to the requirements related to suspicious activity reporting. The data fields reflect the filing requirement for all filers of SARs under the BSA. Most of the proposed changes would alter the "checklist" of violations in Part II of the filings, including the addition of several fields related to cyber events. Comments are due by April 3, 2017.


Venezuelan drug traffickers targeted

OFAC has designated Venezuelan national Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah (El Aissami) as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker (SDNT) pursuant to the Kingpin Act for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking. El Aissami is the Executive Vice President of Venezuela. El Aissami's primary frontman, Venezuelan national Samark Jose Lopez Bello (Lopez Bello), was also designated. OFAC further designated or identified as blocked property 13 companies owned or controlled by Lopez Bello or other designated parties that comprise an international network spanning the British Virgin Islands, Panama, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela. Five of those entities are LLCs registered in Florida. See our OFAC Update for additional information.


FinCEN CMP caps adjusted

The Treasury Department's final rule adjusting maximum civil money penalties for inflation (see "OFAC CMP caps adjusted for inflation") also included adjustments to maximum CMP amounts for Bank Secrecy Act violations. The new maximum penalties are found in revised Table 1 of § 1010.821 of FinCEN's regulations at 31 CFR Part 1010, amended on publication, and applicable retroactively to penalty assessments since January 15, 2017.


OFAC CMP caps adjusted for inflation

The Treasury Department has published, in today's Federal Ledger, a final rule to adjust OFAC-enforced civil monetary penalties (“CMPs”) for inflation as mandated by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (collectively referred to herein as “the Act”). This rule adjusts CMPs within the jurisdiction of OFAC to the maximum amount required by the Act. The rule is effective upon publication, and can be applied retroactively to violations since January 15, 2017.

As of January 15, the applicable statutory maximum civil penalty per violation for each statute enforced by OFAC is as follows:

  • International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) — greater of $289,238 or twice the amount of the underlying transaction;
  • Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) — $85,236;
  • Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (FNKDA) — $1,437,153;
  • Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) — greater of $76,351 or twice the amount of which a financial institution was required to retain possession or control; and
  • Clean Diamond Trade Act (CDTA) — $13,066.


OFAC publishes cyber-related FAQs

OFAC has provided four frequently asked questions (FAQS) related to the recently imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation's Federal Security Service and the issuance of General License 1 authorizing certain transactions otherwise prohibited under Executive Order (E.O.) 13694 of April 1, 2015 ("Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities"), as amended by E.O. 13757 of December 28, 2016 ("Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency With Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities").


OCC warns of scam

The OCC has issued Alert 2017-1 concerning a fictitious notification regarding the release of funds supposedly under the agency's control. Consumers have reported receiving phone calls indicating that the OCC is holding $11,000 on their behalf as a refund for illegal fees charged by their financial institutions. Any communication claiming that the OCC is involved in holding any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity is fraudulent. The OCC does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities.


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