Money Services Business

News & Analysis as of

Fraud is Flourishing: Canada’s Regulatory Patchwork Paves Way for Financial Crimes

Fraud is alive and well in Canada. It is thriving and fraudsters are innovating. This boom in white-collar crime is partly the result of Canada’s lack of a uniform regulatory system and ineffective law enforcement....more

Virtual Currency May Not Be Money but Dismissal Is Real

Is bitcoin money? Not according to a Florida judge who threw out criminal charges against a defendant accused of money laundering and acting as an unlicensed money services business in violation of state law. What...more

South Carolina Enacts its First Law Regulating Money Transmission

Last month South Carolina joined 48 other states in regulating money transmission with unanimous passage of House Bill 4554. The bill, enacting the South Carolina Anti-Money Laundering Act, provides the framework for...more

EU brings virtual currency exchanges and wallet providers under the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive

On 5 July 2016, the European Commission (the Commission) adopted a proposal for a directive that, when passed, will begin to narrow the regulatory gap between the U.S. and the EU for virtual currency exchange platforms and...more

Decreasing the Risk of Derisking: Mitigating Financial Institution Perceived Risk of MSBs

State-regulated financial institutions are best positioned to appreciate the amount of regulatory oversight present for a money services business (MSB) and to use this knowledge to mitigate perceived risk. The same state...more

The Regulatory Pendulum: When is De-Risking by Financial Institutions Too Much?

In the environment of increasingly aggressive regulatory and criminal enforcement of anti-money laundering (AML) violations, concerns about de-risking – when financial institutions close accounts or restrict access to new...more

Repeat BSA Violations Cited for Two FinCEN Fines

Repeat violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) are cited by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for a $1 million penalty against a casino and a $10,000 fine against a money...more

The CFPB’s Examination Authority Over MSBs

New and existing money services businesses frequently ask when or if the CFPB will “examine” them. All consumer financial services businesses naturally worry about the CFPB’s reach and want to be prepared. This article...more

Federal Regulators Clarify Bank CIP Obligations for Prepaid Cardholders

Banks and credit unions that issue reloadable, general purpose prepaid cards must apply Customer Identification Program (CIP) procedures to those cardholders, according to guidance issued by the federal banking regulators and...more

FinCEN Issues Guidance on MSB Obligations to Supervise Agents

On March 11, 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance to Money Services Businesses (MSBs) to reiterate “the existing anti-money laundering (AML) program requirements on the principals of MSBs to...more

The Banking Stepchild: Money Service Businesses

Sometimes risk analysis can result in paralysis. Finding your risk tolerance and applying it to specific situations requires a nuanced approach. I am always wary of anyone who tells me categorical rules – e.g. we do not...more

Pitfalls for the Unwary: Long Arm Jurisdiction of State Enforcement of Money Transmittal Company Laws

Last month we alerted our clients to newly proposed anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulations in New York that sought to impose increased compliance requirements and vastly expanded personal liability (including...more

The Financial Report - Volume 14, No. 17 - September 2015 (US)

We all love to quote statistics when they tend to support whatever position we may be advocating. At the same time, however, we are often loath to take the time and effort to respond to surveys or provide information needed...more

Amendments to Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering Legislation: What’s New and What’s Next

On July 4, 2015, the federal government released amended regulations (Regulations) under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA). While there are some additional regulatory burdens...more

Treasury Department Publishes National Money Laundering Risk Assessment and National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment

On June 12, 2015, Treasury Department issued its National Money Laundering Risk Assessment (NMLRA) and National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment (NTFRA). This is the Department’s first NMLRA release in a decade and its...more

Corporate Investigations & White Collar Defense - May 2015

It’s an Absolute Privilege to Meet You! Texas Supreme Court Rules That Internal Investigation Report Provided by Shell Oil to DOJ Enjoys “Absolute Privilege” - Why it matters: On May 15, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court...more

Ripple Labs Fined $700,000 Over Bank Secrecy Act Violations: Lessons Learned from FinCEN’s first Civil Enforcement Action Against...

On May 5, 2015, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) fined Ripple Labs Inc. (“Ripple Labs”) and its wholly owned subsidiary XRP Fund II LLC (“XRP II”) $700,000 for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”)....more

“Firsts” for the World of Virtual Currencies

There have been two recent virtual currency-related actions worthy of note: (1) the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced its first civil enforcement action against a virtual currency exchanger, and (2)...more

Department of Justice Settles Virtual Currency Enforcement Action

The US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California recently settled an enforcement action against Ripple Labs Inc., a Delaware corporation providing virtual currency exchange services. According to the settlement...more

Bridging the Week - May 2015 #2

Two Traders Subject of CME Summary Suspension for Alleged Spoofing Sued by CFTC Too - Last week, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission commenced a lawsuit in federal court in New York against Heet Khara and Nasim...more

The District of Columbia Adopts the NMLS Uniform Authorized Agent Reporting (UAAR)

The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking has begun using the Uniform Authorized Agent Reporting (UAAR) process of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) to satisfy agent...more

Dealing with high-risk clients and final advice for maintaining an effective AML compliance program

Dealing with high-risk clients in an era of enhanced AML enforcement - To identify and trace criminal activity, federal law enforcement relies on the mandatory filing of suspicious activity reports (SARs) by financial...more

Digital Currency Corner - What FinCEN’s Denial of Payment Processing Exemption for Virtual Currency-Related Businesses Means for...

Why it matters - The rapid evolution of virtual and digital currencies has spawned significant activity in several federal agencies with implications potentially for traditional entities in certain cases. In addition...more

Recent Key Bitcoin and Virtual Currency Regulatory and Law Enforcement Developments

In recent months, US federal and state regulators have continued to focus on Bitcoin and the adoption of a regulatory framework for it and other "virtual currencies," as well as the enforcement of existing securities laws to...more

FinCEN Issues Statement Encouraging Banks to Evaluate Money Services Businesses on a Case-by-Case Basis

On November 10, 2014, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a Statement addressing bank “de-risking,” often described as the practice of closing accounts or refusing to open accounts for particular types...more

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