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Eastern District of CA Announces First Civil Settlement Related to CARES Act Fraud

Posted  01/22/21
typing of word bankruptcy on typewriter
The Eastern District of California announced the very first civil settlement to resolve allegations of fraud against the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program. The agreement was entered into with SlideBelts, Inc., and its President, CFO and CEO, Brigham Taylor, for falsely certifying on its PPP applications to three financial institutions that they were not in bankruptcy when, in fact, they had been in the bankruptcy...

Catch of the Week: Capital One pays $390M to resolve anti-money laundering (AML) violations.

Posted  01/22/21
Bank Building
Capital One, one of America’s ten largest banks, has agreed to pay $390 million to resolve allegations that it violated the Bank Secrecy Act and various other laws targeted at preventing money laundering. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) specifically said that Capital One willfully failed to guard against money laundering from 2008 to 2014, including a failure to file...

Top Ten Federal Financial Fraud Recoveries of 2020

Posted  01/14/21
man pocketing cash in suit
The U.S. government has many enforcement options for financial and investment fraud, including those that provide for whistleblower rewards such as the SEC Whistleblower Program, the CFTC Whistleblower Program, and the IRS Whistleblower Program.  These programs, along with a new one under the Anti-Money-Laundering Act of 2020, are open for business and promise to pay millions of dollars in whistleblower awards in...

COVID Frauds of the Week: PPP Loans for Fraudsters Who Like Nice Things

Posted  11/20/20
money in a spiral form with a bankroll of cash on top
It was another busy week for the DOJ, with at least 13 individuals charged for their attempts to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program out of cash meant to help real businesses with real employees, rather than to fund fraudsters’ extravagant lifestyles and idiotic, selfish behavior. Aditya Raj Sharma, 47, of Maple Grove, Minnesota—fake entrepreneur and apparent fan of swimming—was arrested and charged with...

Sunshine State Local Elections Shine Light on How Dark Shell Company Data Can Be

Posted  11/18/20
top-secret-seal
Amidst the ongoing saga of the US national elections, Florida local elections may not have made much of a ripple.  But one small scandal in the Sunshine State reveals a lot about the ongoing problem the US has with shell corporations and their hidden ownership structures. The story is convoluted, as most shell company stories are.  A political donor, Proclivity, who had never donated money in Florida before,...

The FinCEN Files Prove We Need an Anti-Money-Laundering Whistleblower Program

Posted  09/25/20
dryer with money filled in it
The FinCEN Files. It sounds ominous, and recalls the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers, and others. Like those earlier stories, the FinCEN Files expose powerful players, including a large number of highly regulated banking giants. December 2020 Update: New NDAA Monday Laundering Whistleblower Reward ProvisionsThe FinCEN Files, published by the International Consortium of Investigation Journalists and BuzzFeed News, document over 200,000 suspicious financial transactions via documents leaked...

Catch of the Week: DOJ Charges North Korean and Malaysian Nationals for Bank Fraud, Money Laundering and Sanctions Violations

Posted  09/11/20
A list titled "SANCTIONS LIST"
The Department of Justice announced a criminal complaint charging Ri Jong Chol, Ri Yu Gyong, North Korean nationals, and Gan Chee Lim, a Malaysia national, for conspiracy to violate North Korean Sanctions Regulations, bank fraud, and conspiracy to launder funds.  The DOJ said defendants allegedly established and utilized front companies that transmitted U.S. dollar wires through the United States to purchase...

Catch of the Week: Interactive Brokers Pays $38 Million for Failures in Money-Laundering and Supervision

Posted  08/14/20
Computer screen with graphs
Brokerage firm Interactive Brokers LLC will pay $38 million in penalties to settle charges from multiple U.S. market regulators regarding its anti-money laundering practices, including alleged failures to file suspicious activity reports (SARs).  The discount broker has paid an $11.5 million penalty to settle charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the deficiencies in its internal controls that...

COVID Frauds of the Week: Fraud on the PPP

Posted  06/26/20
hundared dollar bill zoomed in to president's face
This week’s COVID-19 frauds centered on (temporarily) successful attempts to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds for nonexistent companies and fabricated or inflated employee headcounts. First up is the owner of a wedding planning company that sought personal enrichment via more than $3 million in forgivable PPP loans for his 120 nonexistent employees. Fahad Shah, 44, of Murphy, Texas, was arrested...

The Paycheck Protection Program is a Big Solution to a Big Problem, but it Needs Big Oversight

Posted  04/10/20
man-pocketing-cash-into-his-suit-pocket
It’s no secret that our local bodegas, corner nail salons, and go-to restaurants are in trouble. The unprecedented nationwide stay-home initiatives may be flattening the curve, but they’re also threatening to bankrupt millions of small businesses and their employees. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act aims to address this problem with numerous programs, including the Paycheck Protection...
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