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May 20, 2022

Wells Fargo Advisors, which is a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor, agreed to pay $7 million to resolve allegations that it had an inadequate anti-money laundering system.  As a result, the SEC alleged, Wells Fargo did not file timely suspicious activity reports including with respect to foreign wire transfers to or from its customers’ brokerage accounts.  SEC

May 5, 2022

Robert Narvett will spend 15 years in prison for wire fraud and money laundering. Narvett, of Appleton, WI, defrauded nearly 70 different victims of over $2 million, in the end ruining credit scores, rendering victims unable to afford basic life necessities, and having to return to the workforce after retiring. USAO EDWI

April 19, 2022

John Rick Winer, 68, will spend 262 months in federal prison and pay $11 million in restitution for conspiring to defraud investors via a scheme spanning several US states. Winer, with his co-conspirators, solicited millions from donors for nonexistent charitable or humanitarian projects, and then laundered the proceeds. The conspirators utilized numerous fake entities, including one “House of Winer” to further the fraud. Winer is required to forfeit a residence in Norway, a luxury vehicle, approximately $4 million in silver coins, and a laptop. Upon completion of his prison term, Winer will spend 3 years under supervised release. USAO SD

March 24, 2022

A New York woman who defrauded the state out of millions of dollars has been sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution.  According to the Attorney General’s Office, Leslie Montgomery lured low-income New Yorkers to Health Living Community Center under the guise of helping them find housing, then used their information to submit false claims to a Medicaid-funded managed care organization.  The claims for custom-molded back braces were medically unnecessary and not requested by or provided to the intended recipients.  Montgomery then hid the illegal proceeds through multiple shell companies, including LCM Livery P/U, Inc.  NY AG

March 17, 2022

USAA Federal Savings Bank will pay $140 million in penalties and admit that it willfully failed to implement and maintain an anti‑money laundering (AML) program that met the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act, and willfully failed to submit timely and accurate suspicious activity reports.  FinCEN imposed a $140 million penalty, and the bank will receive credit for its payment of a $60 million penalty imposed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for related violations. FinCEN; OCC

February 24, 2022

The National Bank of Pakistan and its New York branch will pay a total of $55.4 million to resolve investigations by the New York State Department of Financial Services and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York into Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering compliance deficiencies.  The bank had previously entered into agreements with the government entities, acknowledging BSA/AML weaknesses and agreeing to undertake remedial measures.  However, the bank had failed to undertake adequate remedial  measures, as found in examinations by the government entities.  NY DFS; Fed

January 5, 2022

Two Florida men, Reinier Gonzalez Caballero and Alexeis Napoles Manresa, have each been sentenced to a little over four years in prison for laundering the ill-gotten proceeds of a $3 million healthcare fraud scheme against Medicare.  Over a couple months in 2019, durable medical equipment company Universal Ortho Supplies, Inc. billed Medicare for orthosis and prosthetics that were never prescribed by physicians, nor provided to patients.  The reimbursements were then turned over to the defendants, who attempted to disguise the source of the funds by setting up shell corporations and opening up fake bank accounts.  Two co-conspirators have already been convicted and sentenced; another two have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.  USAO SDFL

December 15, 2021

Broker-dealer Wedbush Securities Inc. has agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve allegations related to the unregistered sale of large blocks of 50 different low-priced microcap companies by Silverton SA, a former offshore customer.  The SEC also found that Wedbush failed to file SARs for certain suspicious transactions that it executed for Silverton, despite the presence of numerous red flags.  SEC

August 10, 2021

Five companies that operate the BitMEX cryptocurrency platform will pay a total of $100 million to resolve claims that the platform operated a facility to trade or process swaps without being approved as a Designated Contract Market (DCM) or a Swap Execution Facility (SEF), operated as an unregistered futures commission merchant (FCM), and failed to implement anti-money laundering procedures.  HDR Global Trading Limited, 100x Holding Limited, ABS Global Trading Limited, Shine Effort Inc Limited, and HDR Global Services (Bermuda) Limited jointly operated BitMEX, which offered leveraged trading of cryptocurrency derivatives, including to customers in the U.S.  BitMEX acted as a counterparty in certain transactions, and accepted bitcoin to margin digital asset derivative transactions.  BitMEX allowed customers to access its platform and conduct derivative trading without verifying customer identity beyond the collection of an email address, and failed to report suspicious activity as required. As part of the settlement, BitMEX certified that it terminated its U.S. business operations, barred access to the platform by U.S. customers, and had undertaken verification procedures for existing customers.  $50 million of the $100 million penalty will be paid to the CFTC, with $30 million of the remainder paid immediately to FinCEN, and an additional $20 million to FinCEN suspended pending defendants’ undertaking of specific compliance procedures.  CFTC; FinCEN

August 4, 2021

For causing more than $100 million in losses to employers, employees, financial institutions, and financing companies and laundering more than $1 billion in stolen funds, Michael Mann, the owner of shuttered payroll service companies ValueWise and MyPayrollHR, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.  In addition to misappropriating payroll funds and money laundering, Mann was also found to have fraudulently obtained tens of millions of dollars in loans from three financing companies, as well as fraudulently obtained lines of credit from several banks in the New York area.  NY AG; USAO NDNY
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