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Financial Institution Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud by or involving financial institutions. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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Catch of the Week: SEC Cracks Down Again on Cybersecurity Disclosures

Posted  06/17/21
hacker in hoodie typing code in program using laptop in dark studio
This week’s Catch of the Week goes to the Securities and Exchange Commission for its latest settlement involving cybersecurity risks.  The SEC charged First American Financial Corporation, an insurance company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with failing to adequately control for cybersecurity risks.  According to the SEC’s Order, a journalist alerted First American that it had a major vulnerability in...

May 17, 2021

Index provider S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, which publishes the S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures Index ER, will pay a $9 million penalty to resolve claims that inadequate quality control procedures, including an undisclosed “auto-hold” feature triggered by a VIX spike, caused it publish and disseminate stale index values during a period of unprecedented volatility.  As a result of the stale information, issuers who used the index to offer securities reported incorrect values.  SEC

May 13, 2021

Financial services company State Street Corporation will pay a $115 million criminal penalty and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement following its voluntary disclosure to authorities that, over the course of 17 years, the bank defrauded its clients out of $290 million.  State Street  admitted that it secretly marked up “out-of-pocket” (OOP) expenses charged to clients, despite telling clients that OOP expenses were passed through without markups. State Street executives took steps to conceal the mark-ups from clients, including by misleading clients when they inquired about what they were being charged for OOP expenses. As part of the settlement, defendant agreed to cooperate with ongoing investigations, to enhance its compliance program, and to retain an independent corporate compliance monitor for a period of two years. DOJ

ITG – Securities violations (30% SEC whistleblower award)

Constantine Cannon’s team secured another multi-million-dollar SEC whistleblower award for an anonymous whistleblower whose original information and assistance led to an enforcement action against brokerage firm ITG.  The SEC has repeatedly fined ITG in recent years, including for violations related to the firm’s dark pool, POSIT.  A dark pool is an alternate trading system that is supposed to allow investors to place buy and sell orders without alerting predatory traders who can manipulate prices.  ITG told its customers that they could trade in POSIT anonymously and confidentially, but the SEC twice concluded this was false.  The SEC awarded our client 30 percent of the recovery, the maximum amount allowed under the SEC Whistleblower Program.  For more information, see Constantine Cannon Client Receives Maximum Award for Blowing the Whistle on ITG

May 12, 2021

Registered broker-dealer GWFS Equities Inc. will pay a penalty of $1.5 million to settle allegations that it failed to respond appropriately when it detected external bad actors gaining, or attempting to gain, access to the retirement accounts of participants in the employer-sponsored retirement plans it serviced, including through the use of improperly obtained electronic login information, user names, email addresses, and passwords. There was no allegation that this personal identifying information was disclosed in a breach of GWFS systems. However, the bad actors used this information to request distributions from plan participant accounts. While GWFS detected and blocked many of these attempts, the SEC charged that GWFS failed to file suspicious activity reports, or filed incomplete SARs, with respect to the account takeovers. SEC

COVID Frauds of the Week: DOJ Continues to Crack Down on PPP Fraudsters

Posted  03/19/21
ponzi scheme vs pyramid scheme
As of this week, the Small Business Administration has disbursed over $700 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to small businesses and non-profits. There are over $100 billion in remaining appropriations, with additional appropriations likely to follow thereafter. With numbers like these, the program has become a magnet for fraudsters seeking to profit from the pandemic. The DOJ has been actively going...

February 23, 2021

Cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex, operated by iFinex, and Tether were ordered to end all trading activity for NY customers and agreed to pay $18.5 million in penalties following an investigation into their handling of customer deposits and withdrawals that resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of customer assets.  Tether was found to have falsely represented that each of its stablecoins was backed one-to-one by U.S. dollars in reserve when, in fact, they were not.  NY

Congress Has Passed Sweeping Anti–Money Laundering Legislation. Now It’s Up To Trump.

Posted  01/29/21
hundred dollar bills scattered around

Associate Sarah “Poppy” Alexander was quoted in the BuzzFeed News article, ‘Congress Has Passed Sweeping Anti–Money Laundering Legislation. Now It’s Up To Trump’ published on December 11, 2020.

Following rising concerns about money laundering using the US financial system, Congress has passed new anti-money laundering legislation included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). First, it would...

US Bill to Offer Rewards for Whistleblowers Exposing Money Laundering

Posted  01/29/21
launderette

Partner Mary Inman was quoted in the OCCRP article, "US Bill to Offer Rewards for Whistleblowers Exposing Money Laundering", published on January 18, 2021.

Treasury’s new whistleblower reward program is inspired by the highly successful U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Reward Program created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act following the 2008 financial...

New US Whistleblower Reward Program Bolsters Anti-Money Laundering Fight

Posted  01/29/21
pinned hundred dollar bills on clothes line

PartnerMary Inman was quoted in The Banker article, “New US whistleblower reward scheme bolsters AML fight”, published on January 14, 2021.

A new anti-money laundering (AML) whistleblower reward program was included in the US government defense spending bill recently passed by Congress. This program arose in the wake of the FinCEN Files leak, revealing how fraudsters successfully moved millions of dollars of...
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