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Banker's Toolbox, Inc., leaders in compliance solutions for financial institutions, announced the acquisition of Georgia-based MainStreet Technologies (MST). MST is an industry leader in the loan risk management space. This acquisition adds to a strong and growing portfolio of compliance-related solutions and will continue to enhance the value Banker's Toolbox brings to both their customers and the industry. (Read full press release here.)

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New HIDTAs added by Office of National Drug Control Policy

The Office of National Drug Control Policy has announced the designation of ten new areas across Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and West Virginia as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). This designation enables the 10 areas to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement officers, and allows local agencies to benefit from ongoing HIDTA initiatives that are working to reduce drug trafficking across the United States. Financial institutions also take HIDTAs into account in their periodic assessments of money laundering risk. The added areas include:

  • Allegheny, Beaver, and Washington Counties in Pennsylvania as part of the Ohio HIDTA
  • Atlantic County in New Jersey as part of the Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA
  • Butler County in Ohio as part of the Ohio HIDTA
  • Charleston County in South Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina as part of the Atlanta/Carolinas HIDTA
  • Mineral County in West Virginia as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA
  • Montgomery and Powell Counties in Kentucky as part of the Appalachia HIDTA


OFAC targets Maduro's inner circle and corruption proceeds

The Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated four members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s inner circle, including First Lady and former Attorney General and President of the National Assembly Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro. OFAC also targeted a network supporting a key front man for designated President of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello Rondon, and identified as blocked property a $20 million U.S.-based private jet as belonging to Cabello’s front man. Identity information on the designated individuals, entities and the plane can be found in our OFAC Update.


Saudi Arabia record in fighting terrorist financing

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) jointly conducted an assessment of Saudi Arabia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) system. The assessment is a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of a country’s AML/CFT system and its level of compliance with the FATF Recommendations. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is achieving good results in fighting terrorist financing, but needs to focus more on pursuing larger scale money launderers and confiscating their assets.


Florence urgent needs grants available to CUs

The NCUA has announced that low-income credit unions sustaining damage from Hurricane Florence are eligible for urgent needs grants up to $7,500 to help restore operations.


Reminder of Blocked Property Report

Treasury has posted a reminder that persons holding property blocked pursuant to OFAC sanctions regulations are required to provide OFAC with a comprehensive report on all blocked property held as of June 30 of the current year by September 30. The annual reports must be filed using the Annual Report of Blocked Property (ARBP) form. For more information see OFAC’s Guidance on Filing the ARBP.


FinCEN advisory on FATF update

FinCEN Advisory FIN-2018-A004 responds to FATF's updated list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) deficiencies. Iraq and Vanuatu have been removed from the list and are no longer subject to the FATF’s monitoring process under their ongoing global AML/CFT compliance processes. Pakistan has been added to the list and will undergo monitoring by FATF’s International Co-operation Review Group based on the specific AML/CFT deficiencies highlighted by the FATF.

FATF also issued a "public statement" on North Korea and Iran, indicating that those countries have strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes and calling upon FATF members and urging all jurisdictions to (1) impose countermeasures and/or (2) apply enhanced due diligence proportionate to the risks arising from North Korea and Iran.


OFAC extends expiration date of General Licenses

OFAC has announced its extension of the expiration date of certain general licenses related to EN+ Group plc and United Company RUSAL PLC. General Licenses 13D, 14A, and 16A have been amended to extend their expiration dates from October 23 to November 12, 2018, for transactions related to the companies and their subsidiaries.


SEC shuts down $345M Ponzi scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission reports that a federal court order has been issued halting an ongoing Ponzi-like scheme that raised more than $345 million from over 230 investors across the U.S. The SEC also obtained an emergency asset freeze and the appointment of a receiver. The Commission's complaint alleged that Kevin B. Merrill, Jay B. Ledford and Cameron Jezierski attracted investors to their scheme by promising significant profits from the purchase and resale of consumer debt portfolios. But in fact, the defendants were allegedly using a web of lies, fabricated documents, and forged signatures in an elaborate scheme to entice investors and perpetuate the fraud. Rather than direct investor funds to the acquisition and servicing of debt portfolios as promised, the defendants allegedly used the funds to make Ponzi-like payments to earlier investors. The SEC also alleges that Merrill and Ledford stole at least $85 million of the investor funds to maintain lavish lifestyles, spending millions of dollars on luxury items.


More ISIS financial facilitators designated

OFAC has announced the designation of two Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) financiers in accordance with Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. Both individuals are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. For identification information, see our OFAC Update.


FTC shuts down fake doc ID theft operation

The operators of websites that sold fake pay stubs and other documents used to facilitate identity theft and other frauds have agreed to permanently shut down their businesses as part of separate settlements with the Federal Trade Commission. In separate cases filed by the FTC, the Commission alleged that Katrina Moore, Steven Simmons, and George Jiri Strnad II and their affiliated companies operated websites that sold customers a variety of fake financial and other documents – such as pay stubs, income tax forms, and medical statements – which can be used to facilitate identity theft, tax fraud, and other crimes.


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