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THE LATEST ON GOVERNMENT INQUIRIES AND ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Group

Patrick Rowan

Photo of Patrick Rowan As a member of the firm’s nationally recognized Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation department, Pat's practice focuses on criminal and civil enforcement proceedings and internal investigations. He has substantial experience in international and national security matters. He has represented individuals and companies in a variety of federal criminal investigations, as well as civil enforcement actions. He also advises corporate clients on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, OFAC sanctions, the ITAR, the EAR and CFIUS regulations. He has conducted numerous internal investigations for large companies with significant international operations.

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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

The Export/Immigration Dilemma: Don’t Let OSC Catch Your HR Department Unawares

Immigration and Worksite Enforcement, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
On March 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) issued a carefully worded technical assistance letter addressing the complex interplay between U.S. immigration and export control laws in the context of hiring and applicant screening. Although it provides limited new guidance, OSC’s letter is a… 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

Iran Sanctions and the Implementation of the JCPOA: Lots of Changes, but Little Impact on U.S. Businesses?

Compliance, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
In recent days, the news has been full of stories referring to the “end” or “lifting” of U.S. sanctions against Iran, actions that were taken after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on January 16, 2016, that Iran has met its obligations under the July 14, 2015, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in connection… 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

FinCEN Final Rule on Foreign Bank Requires Covered Financial Institutions to Take “Special Measures”

Anti-Money Laundering, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims
On July 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published in the Federal Register a final rule pursuant to Section 311 of the Patriot Act against FBME Bank Ltd. (FBME, formerly known as Federal Bank of the Middle East). FBME is based in Tanzania but does most of its… 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

White House Hostage Policy Leaves Risk on Table for Third Parties

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
Last month, the White House announced a change in its policy toward overseas hostage-takings of U.S. citizens. The new policy, accompanied by an Executive Order, aims to effect policy changes at home and overseas, including a focus on increased and continuous collaboration with a hostage victim’s family. The new policy also reaffirms the government’s longstanding… Continue Reading

Still Certain about Uncertainty − Waiting on the Details in the New Iran Nuclear Deal

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
On July 14, the White House and the U.S. State Department announced that they had reached an agreement with their diplomatic partners and Iran to curtail Iran’s further development of its nuclear program. In exchange for assurances that should limit Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, the U.S. and its negotiating partners − 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

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

Latest US Sanctions Against Russia Target Financial Services and Energy Sector

Compliance, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
On Wednesday, July 16, 2014, the United States announced additional sanctions against Russian interests in response to the continuing crisis in Ukraine. Starting in March of this year, the United States began imposing sanctions against Russian organizations and individuals, including a number of individuals associated with President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. This latest round of… Continue Reading

Violations of the ITAR, EAR or OFAC Regulations: Mistake or Willful Act?

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
The laws regarding what can be exported from the U.S. and where those exports can go are complex. Not surprisingly, these laws are violated on occasion. When violations occur, the critical question for enforcement agencies is whether the violations were willful. The answer to that question generally determines whether the violation is treated as a… Continue Reading

Implementation of New Iran Sanctions Act Begins

Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls
In recent years, the U.S. government has vigorously pursued financial institutions that knowingly violated sanctions targeting rogue regimes.  Since January 2009, the Department of Justice and the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls (“OFAC”) have brought a series of actions against European banks for violating U.S. financial sanctions.  Four banks have paid criminal penalties totaling… Continue Reading

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