CrimeDivas

Female White-Collar Crime Divas-Mordern Day Thieves

US Government Profits from Bank-laundering!

bank

     It does not surprise me that another bank is involved in a money-laundering operation, because people are the ones operating the banks. Hopefully, you are now well-informed via reading my blog that banks are institutions where fraud occurrences are very high. 

What I did find interesting was, no one was held accountable, and it seems everyone involved profited. 

Though we do not have a CrimeDiva per say, Saddle River Valley Bank, will be our CrimeDiva for today.  The NJ bank  agreed to pay $8.2 million in penalty for money laundering violations  and a number of related regulatory actions to settle claims that it violated anti-money laundering laws.

According to records, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s a part of Homeland Security Investigations, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) initiated an investigation, and then filed a formal complaint against Saddle River Valley Bank for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program.

In the records, from June, 2009 through May 2011, Saddle River Valley Bank did business with “casas de cambio” to the sum of $1.5 billion dollars [Two years $1.5 Billion Dollars, wow]. According to court documents, beginning early as year 2000, numerous federal agencies, including the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank and the Internal Revenue Service, began issuing public warnings and industry advisories to U.S. financial institutions about increased money laundering threats in Mexico. Many warnings referenced money laundering risks associated with “casas de cambio,” (CDCs), non-bank currency exchange businesses located in Mexico and elsewhere. Government agencies believed proceeds from narcotics sales in the United States were being disproportionately laundered and transferred through banking institutions in Mexico.

Saddle River Valley Bank’s anti-money laundering program related to the CDCs were found to be deficient in several key areas. While the investigation was underway, another financial institution acquired the majority of Saddle River Valley Bank assets. The bank later agreed to surrender and forfeit $4.1 million to the United States to resolve the investigation conducted by HSI and the OCC. It also agreed to an assessed civil monetary penalty by the OCC of $4.1 million for the deficiencies in its anti-money laundering program, for a total penalty of $8.2 million. The proceeds from acquisition, plus all other assets of the bank, were valued at approximately $9.2 million, were held pending the outcome of the investigation. The bank agreed to settle the government’s allegations with a combined penalty of $8.2 million of the remaining $9.2 million, and have separately agreed with the OCC to cease operation and to dissolve its charter.

Am I missing something, or reading too much into this whole transaction, let’s review this again: Saddle River Valley Bank knew banking practices, regulations, and warnings concerning doing business with operations/companies that could be connected to drugs and money-laundering. The bank laundered $1.5 billion for four non-bank currency exchange company located in Mexico. [I wonder what was SRVB cut on this?] The U.S. government called foul, and two of its agencies were rewarded with a total of $8.2 millions. Another financial institution saw an opportunity and got involved by acquiring the bank while it was under investigation and it profited $1 million at the end. Who lost in this game? The account holders were insured, the government got the biggest piece of the money, and another bank profit just by acquiring the troubled bank. 

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