The Department of the Treasury, in what appears to be a case of first impression, has brought a civil suit, in Federal Court in New York, against Thomas E. Haider, formerly the Chief Compliance officer at MoneyGram International, Inc. Could this case represent the shape of things to come in regulatory actions for AML/CFT violations ?
The complaint asserts that FinCEN has already assessed a $1m civil penalty against Haider, for BSA/AML violations. Among the many allegations are these major charges:
(1) Failure to timely file SARs.
(2) Failure to implement an internal company discipline policy.
(3) Failure to terminate known high-risk agents and retail outlets.
(4) Failure to conduct effective audits of agents and retail outlets.
(5) Failure to conduct effective due diligence upon agents and retail outlets.
The Government, in its request for relief, has demanded a judgment against Haider, for the one million dollars he was assessed by FinCEN, and for "an order enjoining Haider from participating, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of affairs of any financial institution that is located in the United States, or conducts business within the United States, for a term of years sufficient to prevent future harm to the public." Complaint at 4-5.
The United States has demanded a jury trial. Readers who wish to review the complete text of the Complaint can access it here*. Inasmuch as civil monetary penalties have not been effective in suppressing repeated AML/CFT/BSA violations at America's largest banks and NBFIs, this new enforcement tactic, personally attacking compliance officers who allow money laundering and terrorist financing to thrive, may just get the attention of the banking community. We know it will make the compliance officers sit up and take notice.
Now, if Treasury would only file criminal money laundering charges against those avaricious bank directors, who choose profits ahead of obeying the law, and routinely overrule their compliance officers, regarding suspicious clients, we just might see a change in bank policies in the United States. Will Treasury now take this next step ?
*United States of America vs. Thomas Haider, Case No.: 14cv09987 (SDNY)