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Senate Implements Act Authorizing Whistleblower Awards under the Anti-Money Laundering Act

by | Dec 12, 2022 | Whistleblowers

In 2020, the Senate passed The Anti-Money Laundering Act (“AMLA”), which included its own whistleblower program to encourage individuals to come forward with information concerning violations of the Bank Secrets Act (“BSA”).  The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury and notably, the program provides whistleblower rewards for information that leads to government sanctions.

Relatedly, the Department of Treasury also launched the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program in 2022, which offers up to $5 million for whistleblowers who provide information that results in a seizure, restraint, or forfeiture of assets linked to foreign government corruption.

Notable Features of the Anti-Money Laundering Act Whistleblower Program

The AMLA program officially went into effect as of 2021, and the Department of Treasury is likely to release further regulatory guidance regarding the exact structure of the program. In its current state, the program contains several key features, the most notable of which include:

  • Whistleblowers can receive a reward of up to 30% of monetary sanctions over $1 million that the government imposes based upon the information they provide;
  • Whistleblowers must voluntarily provide information;
  • Whistleblowers don’t have to be insiders  or the original source of information to receive a reward, as long as the government was previously unaware of the information;
  • Whistleblowers who are insiders may continue to work in compliance at the company they are blowing the whistle on;
  • Whistleblowers may supply information anonymously if they’re represented by an attorney;
  • Whistleblowers are not required to be U.S. citizens or residents;
  • The illegal conduct being reported does not have to take place in the U.S. as long as regulators have jurisdiction;
  • Some whistleblowers are entitled to protection from retaliation by their employers based on their reporting of BSA violations; and
  • Whistleblowers may receive a reward even if their info relates to an existing AML investigation.

The Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) is charged with administering the BSA and handles the AML program. The agency has broad investigative and enforcement powers including the ability to issue monetary penalties and civil remedies through court or administrative proceedings.

Whistleblowers may submit information about possible BSA violations to FinCEN including:

  • Failure of a covered financial institution to have an effective compliance program;
  • Failures concerning specific compliance program components; and/or
  • Recurring noncompliance with BSA regulations.

Of note is the international reach of the program which allows international whistleblowers to come forward with information and gives the agency authority to investigate and enforce non-compliance outside of the United States.

How Can We Help?

Here at Hoyer Law Group, PLLC our experienced attorneys are well-versed in whistleblower law and can assist you in determining if you have a claim under the AML program, help you file the claim with FinCEN, and represent you throughout the investigative and enforcement process.

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