DO YOU HAVE YOUR ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING MANUAL IN PLACE?
The Department of Justice is taking a different track to track and prosecute money laundering that occurs through financial institutions. Instead of focusing on money laundering that results from criminal violation federal prosecutors are looking at weaknesses in the internal procedures employed by financial institutions to prevent laundering.
Many laws govern financial institutions about reporting certain financial transactions. These laws are primarily under the Bank Secrecy Act and its regulations that require financial institutions to report certain transactions over $10,000l. This is true even when the transactions are broken up. For example many banks such as Wells Fargo are purportedly reporting cash deposits at the $2,500 level pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act. This is true even though the threshold is $10,000. Financial institutions including mortgage loan originators and lenders as of August are required to report suspicious transactions and file the appropriate Suspicious Activity Reports for suspicious transactions that may relate to money laundering activity. Financial institutions also are required to develop, implement and maintain effective anti-money laundering programs and have appropriate manuals designed to prevent the institution from being used to facilitate money laundering.
Federal and state prosecutors have reached settlements with large international banks, including ING and the British bank Standard Chartered, for their sanctions busting transactions with countries such as Cuba and Iran.
The Justice Department is now examining whether a financial institution’s AML processes are compliant. Federal prosecutors are charging financial institutions with an overall failure to maintain an effective program to prevent money laundering. In June the Justice Department brought criminal cases against check-cashing businesses and their owners for failing to implement effective AML programs. (102412rjarnelo)
Are you a mortgage broker or a mortgage lender? As of August regulations required you to have an AML manual in place to check for and report not only money laundering but also suspicious activity. I wonder if know that the regulators that license your business may ask you for the manual as part of their compliance audit of your business. CALIFORNIA STATE BAR ACCUSES LAWYER OF LOAN MODIFICATION MISCONDUCT
The California State Bar Association has charged Stephen Lyster Siringoringo with 20 counts of charging advance fees for mortgage modifications in violation of SB 94, a 2009 consumer protection law.
The formal disciplinary complaint was filed the week of Oct. 8. The disciplinary complaint also accuses Siringoringo of sharing fees with non-lawyers and of committing acts of moral turpitude.
It is alleged Siringoringo heavily advertised his modification services according to the State Bar which allegedly has added a “Consumer Alert” to the top of Siringoringo’s member listing on the State Bar website announcing that he had been charged with 15 or more instances of loan modification misconduct.
According to the complaint, Siringoringo charged three couples and 17 other homeowners between $1,995 and $7,000 to modify their mortgages. The complaint states according to the Bar that he took payments from them, even thought he had not completed all the contracted for services. SB 94 refers to a California Civil Code Section prohibits anyone, including attorneys, from being paid for any sort of mortgage modification or forbearance work until after the person has fully performed each and every service that person contracted to perform. The law became effective in October 2009.
According to the complaint two months after the law took effect, Mr. Siringoringo formed a partnership with a pair of non-lawyers, Alfred Clausen and Josh Cobb to handle modification matters even though he knew the pair had improperly operated law offices for other lawyers previously.
Sometime after the December 2009 agreement it is alleged that Clausen and Cobb opened and staffed offices in Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Glendale. In exchange Siringoringo is alleged to have agreed to pay them a specified percentage of the legal fees revenue generated. Siringoringo is also accused of habitually disregarding the modification law practice in the three offices even though clients believed that a lawyer was helping them. (In re Siringorigo, 11-O-8390 (Sate Bar Court, filed October 10, 2012).
The only good thing out of this may be if the people that lost the money can prove it they may be able to recover the money by filing a Claim with the State Bar Recovery Fund.
CFPB NOW TAKES COMPLAINTS ON CREDIT REPORTS WHERE CREDITORS DO NOT FIX THEIR ERRONEOUS REPORTS TO THE BUREAUS
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now allows consumers to elect to describe his or her complaint such as: (1) incorrect information on the consumer’s credit report; (2) a consumer reporting agency’s investigation; (3) improper use of a credit report; (4) inability to obtain a credit report or credit score; and (5) problems with credit monitoring or identity protection services.
This expansion of the CFPB’s complaint system will impact consumer reporting agencies who are the subject of complaints, and in particular, those consumer reporting agencies as well as other companies that report to such agencies or use consumer reports. Complaints about bank or other companies could result in targeted CFPB examinations.
Now the consumer can complain on line using the CFPB website. That is certainly going to make the creditors and credit reporting agencies sit up and take notice. The consumer has an easy way to complain from home online.
ONLY ONE OUT OF 24 ACQUITTED IN SAN DIEGO MORTGAGE FRAUD CASE
On Oct. 12, a federal criminal case filed in San Diego federal court three years ago had named 24 people, including a documented Lincoln Park gang member, in a scheme that prosecutors said netted the group some $11 million in fraudulent profits ended with a jury verdict that found one person guilty and one that was totally acquitted.