The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in coordination with the Securities & Exchange Commission (DEC), has levied a $20m civil penalty upon Oppenheimer & Co., Inc., for failure to establish and implement an effective AML program, failure to conduct adequate due diligence upon a foreign correspondent account, and for violations of the USA PATRIOT Act.
The company apparently allowed massive penny stock price manipulation, suspicious transfer of profits, and suspicious activities of a high-risk foreign correspondent account. FinCEN had previously penalized the company for similar deficiencies, and the agency's Director has stated that its compliance culture must change.
The size of the fine should be a wake-up call for broker-dealers with dodgy AML/CFT and CIP programs. Readers who wish to review the complete text of the Assessment of Civil Money Penalty can find it here*.