Miami-based brokerage firm E.S. Financial Services, now known as Brickell Global Markets, will pay a $1 million penalty to settle charges that it violated anti-money laundering rules by allowing foreign entities to buy and sell securities without verifying the identities of non-U.S. citizens who beneficially owned them. Federal law requires all financial institutions to maintain an adequate customer identification program to ensure they know their customers and do not become a conduit for money laundering or terrorist financing. But during SEC examinations, the firm twice failed to provide required books and records identifying certain foreign customers whom they were soliciting directly and to whom they were providing investment advice. An ensuing investigation found that the firm’s customer identification program failed to obtain and maintain documentation to verify the identities of 23 non-U.S. citizens, the beneficial owners of 13 non-U.S. corporate entities, who executed more than $23 million in securities transactions through a brokerage account opened by a Central American bank affiliated with the firm. SEC
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