WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) held its annual ceremony earlier this month to honor the recipients of the FinCEN Director’s Law Enforcement Awards for 2022. The law enforcement agencies and officials who received awards were recognized because of the critical role that Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data played in the successful pursuit and prosecution of criminal cases.
“Financial institutions’ anti-money laundering detection and suspicious activity reporting programs provide a critical set of eyes and ears as we collectively seek to mitigate the risks of financial crime and combat illicit activity,” Under Secretary of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said during the ceremony. “Treasury very much values industry’s continued partnership and commitment to provide detailed and highly useful suspicious activity reports.”
“These cases exemplify the value of BSA information and the importance of communication among FinCEN, financial institutions, and law enforcement agencies,” said FinCEN Acting Director Himamauli Das. “We recognize both the impressive work of these law enforcement teams and the importance of BSA reporting by the financial industry—it is truly a collective effort to leverage critical BSA reporting to support investigations, combat financial crime and other illicit activity, and to protect our national security.”
Representatives from the financial industry and law enforcement participated in the ceremony. Awards were presented in five categories this year. Under the Law Enforcement Awards Program, FinCEN accepts nominations from all Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Brief descriptions of the award-receiving cases follow. Summaries of all case nominations will be posted to FinCEN’s website in the near future.
Fraud: Homeland Security Investigations
Over 1,900 BSA filings assisted law enforcement with this successful investigation that involved a money services business that was operating well outside of its purported business model and effectively had no anti-money laundering program. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas prosecuted this case.
Cybercrime: Homeland Security Investigations
Homeland Security Investigations initiated an investigation into a transnational criminal organization involved in the production and distribution of child sexual exploitation material. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida prosecuted this case.
Drug Trafficking Organization Activity: Kansas City Police Department
The Kansas City Police Department used BSA data to drive an investigation and assisted in the largest U.S. bulk currency seizure in the Western District of Missouri. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri prosecuted this case.
Transnational Criminal Organization Activity: Drug Enforcement Administration
Law enforcement reviewed over 1,950 BSA records during this investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering organization based on a lead received from the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey prosecuted this case.
Proliferation Financing: Federal Bureau of Investigation
This case involved a long-running scheme by a telecommunications company, its chief financial officer, and other employees who deceived numerous global financial institutions and the U.S. Government regarding the company’s business activities in Iran. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York prosecuted this case.
UPDATE [1/9/23]: Click on the link below to view summaries of all of the nominated cases, as submitted by the respective law enforcement agencies.