In this article for the Consumer Privacy World Blog, John Burlingame and Kristin Bryan discuss a recent federal district court decision which calls into question the application of attorney work-product privilege to work-product prepared by consultants in anticipation of litigation.
On October 23, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the ‘‘Board’’) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued a joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) soliciting public comment on questions relating to potential amendments to Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) regulations. The proposed amendments seek to modify the existing Recordkeeping Rule and Travel Rule by:
- Lowering the requirement to collect, retain, and transmit information on funds transfers and transmittals of funds from $3,000 to $250 for transactions that begin or end outside the United States; and
- Superseding the existing definition of money to include convertible virtual currencies (“CVCs”).
On October 19, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released its assessment of a $60 million civil monetary penalty against the operator of two cryptocurrency “mixers” for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). The action marks the first effort by FinCEN to target the use of these “mixers” to facilitate money laundering and demonstrates FinCEN’s ongoing commitment to regulate entities that transmit cryptocurrencies as money service businesses (“MSBs”) under the BSA.
The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently announced its largest ever health care fraud and opioid enforcement action. In a coordinated effort, DOJ charged 345 defendants with more than $6 billion in fraud losses for submitting false and fraudulent claims to federal health care programs and private insurers.
In light of two new US Treasury Department advisories signaling increased oversight of ransomware payments, victim companies and their third-party response teams considering making payments should follow certain due diligence and compliance best practices, write Colin Jennings, Ericka Johnson, Dylan Yépez and Elizabeth Weil Shaw in an article for Law360.
Two U.S. authorities recently announced actions against four individuals and numerous entities associated with BitMEX, an online trading platform for futures contracts and other derivative products tied to the value of cryptocurrencies. Both actions allege that BitMEX failed to put in place required anti-money laundering programs and procedures, and serve as a reminder that institutions offering new and innovative financial products should assess the potential applicability of and compliance with U.S. anti-money laundering laws and regulations.
With cybercrime on the rise, two U.S. Treasury Department components, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), issued advisories on one of the most insidious forms of cyberattack – ransomware.
In remarks to the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (“ACAMS”), Kenneth A. Blanco, the Director of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), covered a number of high-priority topics, including FinCEN’s response to the pandemic, the latest COVID-19 related fraud schemes, emerging cyber threats, virtual currency issues, and important regulatory updates. A theme throughout his speech was FinCEN’s commitment to increased and meaningful communication with the entities it regulates.
This week, in a 3-2 vote, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) approved significant changes to the rules governing its whistleblower program. The program, established by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2011, incentivizes those with information about possible securities law violations to report to the SEC. If the tipster provides “high-quality original information” that leads to an enforcement action where monetary sanctions exceed $1 million, the SEC will award a bounty equal to 10 to 30 percent of the sanctions. According to the SEC, whistleblower reports have already led to enforcement actions ordering over $2.5 billion in financial remedies and resulting in more than $500 million in whistleblower awards.
On May 19, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed Executive Order 13924, to provide regulatory relief for entities economically impacted by the pandemic. Section 6 of the Executive Order directed agencies to revise their procedures and practices in administrative investigations and enforcement in light of certain enumerated principles of fairness. It also required the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, to issue memoranda needed to guide implementation of the EO. On August 31, 2020, OMB issued such a memorandum, providing guidance on the implementation of Section 6.