AML Whistleblower Program has Received Tips “Highly Relevant to Many of Treasury’s Top Priorities”

AML Whistleblower

The recently established Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Program has “received over 270 unique tips” and “many of the tips received have been highly relevant to many of Treasury’s top priorities” according to Andrea Gacki, Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

On May 6, Andrea Gacki gave prepared remarks at the SIFMA AML Conference where she spoke about the new whistleblower program, which was reformed into a best-practice whistleblower program by the passage of the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act in December 2022.

“I would now like to turn to some of FinCEN’s more recent enforcement and compliance-related work, which has long been a critical component of FinCEN’s mission,” said Gacki. “Those who follow the enforcement space have likely noticed FinCEN becoming increasingly active on these issues, which is consistent with our efforts across various workstreams to increase enforcement by strategically deploying our resources. A significant component of such efforts is FinCEN’s commitment to implementing, and realizing the full potential of, its new Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions Whistleblower Program.”

“This program holds tremendous potential as an enforcement force-multiplier,” Gacki continued. “Whistleblowers have submitted information relating to some of the most pressing policy objectives of the United States, from Iran- and Russia-related sanctions evasion to drug-trafficking to cyber-crimes and corruption.”

The AML Whistleblower Program offers monetary awards and anti-retaliation protections to whistleblowers who report money laundering violations, such as violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), as well as sanctions evasion.

“When Congress passed the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act in December 2022, it was clear that the AML Whistleblower Program had the potential to be an immense success and revolutionize the ability of U.S. authorities to crack down on money laundering and sanctions evasion,” stated whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto.

“It is reassuring to hear that FinCEN recognizes the great potential of this program and the critical role whistleblowers can play in FinCEN’s enforcement efforts and the United States’ anti-corruption efforts more broadly,” added Kohn, who represents whistleblowers who have made disclosures under the program. “There is no better way to detect hidden illicit funds than through the cooperation of an insider.

In February, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) sent a letter to Gacki expressing concerns about significant delays in the implementation of the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act.

The three senators, who were instrumental in leading the Senate to its unanimous passage of the Act at the end of 2022, point out that although the law was enacted three years ago, FinCEN has failed to establish a dedicated, public website for its whistleblower program. They claim that the agency’s current website misleads potential whistleblowers as it states that “‘the use of [FinCEN’s] hotline is for financial institutions only. Private citizens wishing to report criminal activity should contact law enforcement in their area.’” FinCEN has also failed to publish draft rules for the whistleblower program. The senators write that “this is unacceptable.”

“While efforts are underway to develop an online tip intake portal and other aspects of this important program, I want to note that even while these efforts are underway, the program is actively receiving, reviewing, and sharing tips with our enforcement partners,” Gacki said during her remarks.

Whistleblower advocates have also been pressuring FinCEN and the Treasury Department to implement regulations for the whistleblower program which align with the needs of international whistleblowers and the United States’ global anti-corruption strategy.

According to Kohn, the rulemaking process for the AML Whistleblower Program will be critical in determining its efficacy. He has written extensively about how the rules need to work for international whistleblowers.

The National Whistleblower Center, where Kohn serves as Chairman of the Board, has issued an Action Alert calling on Treasury and FinCEN to pass strong rules for the AML Whistleblower Program.

Take Action:

Call On FinCEN To Enact Rules that Align with Anti-Corruption Priorities

Further Reading:

Prepared Remarks of FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki During the SIFMA AML Conference

AML Whistleblower Program Primed for Major 2024 According to Expert

More AML Whistleblower News

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