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Washington
Financial institution assessed 1M penalty for BSA violations
VIENNA, Va. (6/4/10)—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) revealed Thursday that it assessed a $1 million civil money penalty against a savings bank in New Jersey for violating a number of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements. FinCEN cited Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L. A., of Bayonne, with a lack of internal controls, unqualified BSA compliance personnel, “relatively non-existent” training, and deficient independent testing. FinCEN said the deficiencies resulted in a “wholly ineffective” BSA compliance program which, in turn, resulted in a failure to file a substantial number of currency transaction and suspicious activity reports in an accurate and timely manner. FinCEN further charged that the bank misled regulators about its attempt to fix the problems. Pamrapo Savings Bank, without admitting or denying the allegations, consented to payment of the civil money penalty, FinCEN said in a release. FinCEN, an arm of the U.S. Treasury Department, was created to enhance U.S. national security, deter and detect criminal activity, and safeguard financial systems from abuse by promoting transparency in the U.S. and international financial systems. “Without an effective (anti-money laundering) program, a financial institution deprives law enforcement of valuable tools made available for investigations under the BSA, and exposes the institution to illicit activity,” said FinCEN Director James H. Freis, Jr. “Information reported to FinCEN can be the tip-off that triggers an investigation or provides significant support to an investigation already underway. This can only happen when a financial institution has an effective anti-money laundering program in place.” FinCEN said the Pamrapo investigation and resulting civil money penalty was part of a coordinated effort with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of Thrift Supervision. FinCEN’s assessment is in addition to forfeiture and civil money penalty actions by the DOJ and OTS, respectively, in March 2010.
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