Subject to Inquiry

Subject to Inquiry


Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Group

Jeffrey M. Hanna

Photo of Jeffrey M. Hanna Jeff’s practice includes complex litigation at the trial and appellate level, focusing on matters arising from government, regulatory, and criminal and corporate internal investigations.

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DOJ Announces “Pilot Program Regarding Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks” with Significant Ramifications for Corporations Facing Criminal Investigations

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends
The Department of Justice Criminal Division announced a “Pilot Program Regarding Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks” (the “Program”) this week with broad implications for corporations and their individual executives operating within the Department’s jurisdiction. During two keynote speeches delivered at the American Bar Association’s National Institute on White Collar Crime, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco (remarks… Continue Reading

At Long Last, FinCEN Issues Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Rule

Financial Institution Regulation
At long last, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a final rule establishing a beneficial ownership information reporting requirement for corporations and companies both large and small. In its announcement earlier today, FinCEN explained that the rule will require most companies and corporations registered to do business in the United States to report information about their… Continue Reading

FinCEN’s Proposed Foreign Affiliate SAR Sharing Program — Key Considerations

Anti-Money Laundering
On January 25, 2022, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) solicited commentary regarding its proposed rule that would create a time-limited pilot program to expand the ability of financial institutions to share Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) and SAR-related information.  (See 31 U.S.C. § 5318(g)(8)).  The proposed program would permit a financial institution with a SAR… Continue Reading

FinCEN Director Blanco Comments on Section 314(b)’s New Guidance

Financial Institution Regulation
On December 10, 2020, FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco delivered prepared remarks at the ABA’s annual Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference. At the outset, Director Blanco addressed the importance of U.S. national security amidst the unprecedented environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In his remarks, Director Blanco announced “important guidance” and “much needed clarity” concerning FinCEN’s voluntary… Continue Reading

FinCEN Rule Ends AML Program Exemption for Banks that Lack a Federal Regulator

Anti-Money Laundering
On September 15, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) published a Final Rule bringing banks that lack a federal functional regulator further under its purview. The rule subjects these institutions to minimum standards for anti-money laundering (“AML”) requirements, including a BSA officer, AML policies and procedures, and regular employee training, among other obligations. It… Continue Reading

Congressional Investigations: A Month In, Congress Signals Close Scrutiny of CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program

The CARES Act is only a month old, but plans for investigations to track the nearly $3 trillion in coronavirus relief funds are already emerging from Congress. Among the mechanisms for oversight created and funded by the CARES Act itself is the Congressional Oversight Commission, a five-member committee overseeing $500 billion in loans doled out… Continue Reading

FinCEN Issues Statement to Financial Institutions on BSA/AML Compliance During COVID-19 Pandemic

Anti-Money Laundering, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released a statement to financial institutions on March 16, 2020, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement covered two main topics: Potential delays by financial institutions in filing required Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports Remaining alert to identify malicious or fraudulent transactions, which often arise during natural disasters First, FinCEN… Continue Reading

What the Venezuela Sanctions May Mean for Future Sanctions Programs

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
When the Trump Administration designated Venezuelan state-owned oil producer Petreoleos de Venezuela (“PdVSA”) on January 28, 2019, pursuant to preexisting sanctions relating to the political situation created by the Maduro regime, it sent a significant but not unanticipated ripple through the global petroleum markets.  The impact of the sanctions for commodities traders and petroleum refiners—particularly… Continue Reading

SEC Opens Cease-and-Desist Order Proceeding against Broker-Dealer and Chief Compliance / AML Officer

Anti-Money Laundering, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Securities and Commodities
As we have highlighted in prior posts, regulators of financial institutions, including FinCEN, FINRA and SEC, have increasingly brought actions to bring organizations – and individuals – into compliance with AML / BSA obligations.  This enforcement activity is consistent with FinCEN’s August 2014 Advisory, now nearly three years old, emphasizing the idea that U.S. financial institutions… Continue Reading

FinCEN Opens 2017 with SAR Sharing Guidance for Casinos

Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance
Financial institutions’ ability to share suspicious activity reports (“SARs”) within the corporate organizational structure serves as an important tool for Bank Secrecy Act compliance and risk avoidance.  FinCEN began 2017 by reminding casinos of their ability to share information under this rule. Subject to certain limitations, casinos may share with domestic parents and affiliates suspicious… Continue Reading

FinCEN Associate Director for Enforcement Delivers Remarks at Title 31 Conference, Stresses Importance of Culture of Compliance

Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation
On the day after his appointment in August 2016, the Associate Director for Enforcement for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Thomas Ott, addressed the National Title 31 Suspicious Activity & Risk Assessment Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  In his remarks, he (1) covered recent enforcement actions, (2) sought to dispel myths or misconceptions about… Continue Reading

Casino AML: FinCEN Fines Former Sparks Nugget Management $1 Million

Anti-Money Laundering
Attributing observed deficiencies to a lack of a culture of compliance, FinCEN has again targeted a casino for willful violations of the anti-money laundering (“AML”) provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”).  This time the casino in FinCEN’s sights is the Sparks Nugget, Inc. d/b/a John Ascuaga’s Nugget (“Sparks Nugget”), located in Sparks, Nevada.  In… Continue Reading

CFPB Announces Two-Year Policy Priorities

Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation
At the end of February 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced nine priority goals for the next two years.  According to its press release, the CFPB set these priorities by balancing the amount of consumer harm observed against the Bureau’s capacity to eliminate or mitigate that harm.  The CFPB identified three core tools… Continue Reading

FinCEN Announces First Card Club AML Enforcement Action

Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims
Just in time for Christmas, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the financial industry (including casinos and card clubs) regulator, announced its first-ever enforcement action against a card club, California’s Oaks Card Club (Oaks). The enforcement action, which carried a penalty of $650,000, is the latest in a string of actions against gaming enterprises and is… Continue Reading

FinCEN Announces Caesars Penalty After Multiyear Investigation

Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation
This week the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a Consent Agreement that imposed an $8 million civil penalty against Desert Palace, Inc. d/b/a Caesars Palace. Caesars first disclosed the investigation in SEC filings in late 2013. The investigation grew out of a 2012 audit performed by FinCEN’s examiner, the Internal Revenue Service Small Business/Self-Employed… Continue Reading

Casino Forfeiture a Reminder that FinCEN’s Regulatory Oversight May Involve DOJ and Criminal Penalty

Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation
In early June 2015, FinCEN assessed a civil money penalty on the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, located in the Northern Mariana Islands, an archipelago to the east of the Philippines (don’t feel bad if you click here to learn a little more). Being a U.S. territory, the Northern Marianas are subject to federal regulation.… Continue Reading

FinCEN Reasserts its Commitment to Casino Oversight and Enforcement

Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation
In a recent post we described a number of steps taken over the last year by the primary federal regulator for casinos – the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) – that should cause casino operators to have Title 31 and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) compliance among their top priorities. Based on this FinCEN activity, the… Continue Reading

AML Compliance Developments in the Gaming Industry

Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims
Executives of regulated entities often lament that fulfilling compliance obligations interferes with their ability to operate their business. However, an extensive (and extended) regulator investigation with the potential for civil and / or criminal penalties can present an even greater obstacle to running a business. Trends over the last year in the gaming industry suggest… Continue Reading

Guilty Plea in DOJ’s First Criminal Prosecution for Campaign Finance Coordination

Election and Political Law
The news media has already engaged in rampant speculation regarding the potential candidates from both parties in the 2016 presidential election. Inextricably tied to the talk of political campaigns is the public discussion about campaign finance, particularly with reference to political action committees (PACs). In the wake of the Citizens United decision, the public has… Continue Reading

DOJ, SEC Inquiry into Och-Ziff Capital “Placement Fee” Payment Highlights Continuing FCPA Scrutiny

Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Compliance
Och-Ziff Capital Management (Och-Ziff), a publicly traded hedge fund, hasdisclosed that it is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The inquiry focuses on a “placement fee” Och-Ziff paid in 2007 to a London middleman − Lebanese businessman Mohamad Ali Ajami − to… Continue Reading

Unpacking OFAC’s Revised Guidance Regarding its “50 Percent Rule”

Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation
On August 14, 2014, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published revised guidance regarding entities owned by persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to an Executive Order or regulations administered by OFAC (blocked persons). Fed. Reg. 47726 (August 14, 2014). Under the revised guidance, any entity that… Continue Reading

The Bedeviling Question of Willfulness in the Criminal Context

Election and Political Law, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
Courts have long struggled with interpreting (and thus instructing a jury on) the statutory element of willfulness. This frequently manifests in the challenge of expressing what level of knowledge the defendant must possess about the law he is accused of violating. Reflective of this challenge, courts have characterized the element of willfulness as “bedeviling,” turning… Continue Reading

Despite Public Perception, Financial Institutions Have Not Received Favored Treatment

Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Securities and Commodities
Following a slew of significant corporate settlements over the last several months — none involving criminal charges being brought against corporations or individuals — federal regulators and law enforcement have heard an increasing outcry over the lack of criminal prosecutions of financial institutions and their executive leadership. Congress, irked by the perceived “Too Big to… Continue Reading

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