Regulatory Enforcement

Trump vs. Biden

What would a Democratic regulatory agenda look like under Biden?


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is no lock to win the presidency on Nov. 3. But it’s worth examining what compliance-related regulatory policies he’d support if he wins.


Bitcoin platform operator fined $60M for AML violations


Larry Dean Harmon, the operator of virtual currency platforms Helix and Coin Ninja, was assessed a $60 million civil penalty by FinCEN for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing of AML regulations.


Anatomy of a 90% fine reduction: How BA saved $200M on GDPR penalty


The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office agreed to slash its intended GDPR fine for British Airways from £183.39 million (U.S. $230 million) to just £20 million (U.S. $26 million). What was behind the massive reduction?

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USAA $85M fine for compliance failures lacks justification


The OCC’s recent $85 million penalty assessed against USAA for compliance risk management failures leaves too many questions unanswered for a fine that size, writes Jaclyn Jaeger.


Brazilian meatpacker’s FCPA settlement details widespread corruption


Brazilian company JBS, the largest meat producer in the world, and its holding company agreed to pay nearly $300 million for systemic and widespread corruption in settlements with two U.S. enforcement agencies.


Deutsche Bank fined $15.9M for lag in reporting suspicious transactions


A German public prosecutor levied a €13.5 million (U.S. $15.9 million) fine against Deutsche Bank for failing to report over 600 suspicious transactions in a timely manner but dropped a wider investigation related to the Danske Bank money laundering scandal.


Ex-KPMG partner avoids prison in cheating scandal sentencing


Former KPMG partner David Britt has been sentenced to six months of home confinement for his role in a cheating scandal that has haunted the Big Four audit firm for two years and is now finally nearing its end.


DOJ official: ‘Inability to pay’ playing more prominent role in criminal cases


Revenue constraints faced by companies due to the coronavirus pandemic are factoring more prominently into settlement discussions with the Department of Justice, according to acting Criminal Division head Brian Rabbitt.


SAExploration accused of $100M accounting fraud


SAExploration Holdings has been accused by the SEC of perpetrating a $100 million accounting fraud that involved routing payments through shell companies so it appeared to be legitimate revenue.

Morgan Stanley

OCC fines Morgan Stanley $60M for data inventory risk failures


Morgan Stanley has agreed to pay $60 million as part of a settlement with the OCC for failing to adequately protect customer data when the bank decommissioned two U.S.-based wealth management data centers.


U.S. agencies get nod for using data, smart incentives in enforcement

2020-10-08T17:17:00+01:00By Compliance Week

Both the CFTC and CFPB “Nailed It” this week while corporate heavyweight General Electric found itself in more trouble.


Citigroup fined $400M for compliance, risk management failures


Federal banking regulators fined Citigroup $400 million for failing to address “significant” risk and compliance failures.


World Bank debars Kalpataru Power Transmission for fraud


The World Bank announced the debarment of India-based Kalpataru Power Transmission for 12 months and one day for fraudulent practices connected to power development projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Egypt.


CFTC announces record enforcement year—and departure of enforcement head


On the same day the CFTC celebrated a record-breaking 113 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2020, the agency also announced the impending departure of Enforcement Director James McDonald.


GE facing potential SEC action over accounting issues


General Electric revealed in a regulatory filing that it is facing a civil injunctive action from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding accounting issues tied to its legacy insurance portfolio.


FINMA orders Banca Credinvest to improve AML measures


The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority found Banca Credinvest “seriously breached” anti-money laundering regulations with regard to dealings with PDVSA in Venezuela.

United States Cuba

Travel service company to pay $6M for violating Cuba sanctions


Generali Global Assistance has agreed to pay approximately $5.9 million for violating U.S. sanctions. The action comes a week after OFAC amended its Cuban Assets Control Regulations.


EY allegedly flubbed Wirecard dealings worse than we thought

2020-10-02T17:05:00+01:00By Compliance Week

In this week’s “Nailed It or Failed It,” we take down EY and JPMorgan Chase for apparently ignoring whistleblowers and give the SEC a nod for rewarding them.


HP fined $6M for disclosure violations and control failures


HP has agreed to pay $6 million in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve allegations of disclosure violations and control failures regarding improper sales practices.


H&M Germany fined $41.3M in one of largest GDPR penalties


In one of the largest GDPR fines imposed, a regional data protection authority in Germany fined H&M Germany €35.2 million (U.S. $41.3 million) for excessive monitoring of several hundred employees by one of the retailer’s subsidiaries.


Former hedge fund CCO fined, suspended for impeding investigation


The former CCO of a New York City investment firm who impeded a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into her employer has been fined $25,000 and suspended from practicing before the SEC for a year.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley fined $5M for short sales violations


The SEC has hit Morgan Stanley with a cease-and-desist order imposing a censure and a $5 million penalty resulting from violations of Regulation SHO, the agency’s regulations governing short sales.

Accounting fraud

SEC charges Manitex, three former execs with accounting fraud


The SEC has brought charges against Manitex International and three of its former senior executives for engaging in accounting fraud that resulted in the issuance of materially misstated financial statements.


Compliance failures at JPMorgan highlighted in record $920M spoofing fine


JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay more than $920 million as part of an agreement with three federal agencies to settle allegations that the firm’s traders manipulated the precious metals markets with false trades.


Fiat Chrysler fined $9.5M for ‘misleading disclosures’ on diesel emissions


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has agreed to pay $9.5 million to settle allegations from the SEC that it made “misleading disclosures” regarding an internal audit of emission control systems for diesel vehicles it sold in the United States.


Citibank affiliates fined $4.5M for deleting subpoenaed audio files


Three Citibank affiliates have been collectively ordered to pay $4.5 million to settle CFTC charges regarding supervision failures that led to the deletion of subpoenaed audio files.

Health records

Breach costs Premera Blue Cross $6.85M; second-largest HIPAA fine


Premera Blue Cross has agreed to pay $6.85 million in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding a 2014 data breach that affected the personal and health plan information of over 10.4 million people.

Business fear

OECD report: Fear of enforcement drives fight against corruption


Fear of enforcement and the consequential reputational fallout of an enforcement action are the top drivers for developing an anti-corruption compliance program, states a new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Stock data

Two companies charged in landmark SEC data analytics cases


A new risk-based data analytics initiative at the SEC has been credited for forming the basis of charges against two publicly traded companies for improper reporting of quarterly earnings per share.


BoA a silver lining in damning ‘FinCEN Files’ report; Wells Fargo CEO puts foot in mouth

2020-09-25T20:27:00+01:00By Compliance Week

Bank of America gets a pat on the back for going beyond an “observe and report” approach to filing a SAR, and we learned this week that Wells Fargo’s CEO needs a little unconscious bias training.


Internal whistleblower exposes fraud at Illinois engine manufacturer


An internal whistleblower exposed a scheme by three executives of a Chicago-area engine manufacturer to improperly inflate revenue and cover their tracks by lying to company accountants and independent counsel.


Lighting company, four executives fined for improperly booking revenue


A Connecticut industrial lighting company has been fined $1.25 million by the SEC for falsely booking $55 million worth of sales on its financial statements over four years. Four company executives have been fined as well.


Keysight Technologies to pay $473K for sanctioned dealings in Iran


Keysight Technologies, a successor entity to Anite Finland, has reached a $473,157 settlement with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control regarding subsidiary dealings in the sanctioned country of Iran.


Westpac set to pay record $912.6M civil penalty for AML failures


Westpac is bracing for a record AUS$1.3 billion (U.S. $912.6 million) civil penalty issued by Australia’s financial crime regulator related to a money-laundering scandal and the facilitation of child exploitation in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.


Sargeant Marine to pay $16.6M in FCPA case


Sargeant Marine has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and agreed to a $16.6 million criminal fine to resolve the charges, the Department of Justice announced.

Wells Fargo

Former Wells Fargo execs settle with OCC for fake account scandal roles


Three former senior executives of Wells Fargo Bank must pay a combined total of $1.675 million in civil money penalties in settlements with the OCC for their individual roles in the bank’s now-infamous fake account scandal.


Chinese regulator fines Luckin Coffee, affiliated groups $9M


China’s market competition regulator announced a fine of 61 million yuan (U.S. $9 million) against Luckin Coffee and a group of affiliated firms in response to the coffee chain’s inflated sales scandal.

Bank fail

Recent OCC case shows widespread liability when a BSA program fails


Who faces liability when a Bank Secrecy Act program is deemed to be deficient? A series of recent enforcement actions taken by the OCC against individuals at a now-defunct New Jersey bank provides a case study.

Rite Aid

Former Rite Aid compliance exec charged with insider trading


Armed with insider information about problems with a merger with Walgreens, a Rite Aid compliance executive who oversaw its corporate code of conduct sold company stock to save himself and his family over $150,000, according to the SEC.

Telecom satellite

Compliance official key to Comtech sanctions penalty


The alleged actions of an export compliance official are at the heart of “egregious” apparent OFAC sanctions violations by New York-based Comtech Telecommunications Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiary regarding sales in Sudan.


CCO for investment firm altered docs to cover compliance failures, SEC says


A New York investment advisor and broker-dealer firm and its former chief compliance officer have been fined and censured for not fixing compliance failures identified by two federal agencies, then altering documents in an attempt to convince investigators the failures had been addressed.


Volkswagen completes monitorship; Deloitte family leave policy too good to be true?

2020-09-17T20:32:00+01:00By Compliance Week

Volkswagen gets a nod this week for successfully completing its 3-year compliance monitorship related to Dieselgate. Deloitte, on the other hand, lands on the wrong side of our list.


FRC fines Deloitte record $19.4M for Autonomy audit failures


The U.K. Financial Reporting Council fined Deloitte a record £15 million (U.S. $19.4 million) for numerous findings of misconduct regarding past audits of British software company Autonomy Corporation.


Daimler, U.S. authorities reach $1.5B proposed emissions settlement


Daimler AG and subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA have reached a proposed settlement with U.S. authorities totaling $1.5 billion in fines and other costs to resolve emissions-cheating allegations.

Magic pipe

Chapter 3: Carnival’s history as serial polluter catches up to it


This installment looks back at Carnival’s history of environmental law convictions, plea agreements with the DOJ, criminal fines, and environmental compliance plans (yes, there is more than one).

Carnival index

Compliance Week presents: ‘A Tale of Two Storms’


Our first-ever case study is the story of Carnival’s quest for compliance redemption, set in the context of not only new leadership and a court-appointed monitorship, but in the midst of a global pandemic.


SEC charges chief compliance officer in stock fraud scheme


A New Jersey-based asset management firm and its president and chief compliance officer are facing SEC charges for “cherry-picking” profitable stocks for new and favored accounts that diminished returns for other clients.


OFAC-Delaware sanctions pact more than meets the eye


As the state home to nearly 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies, the Delaware Department of Justice’s Memorandum of Understanding with OFAC represents a significant milestone for U.S. sanctions enforcement.


Credit to JPMorgan Chase in this week’s banking-themed naughty/nice list

2020-09-10T21:14:00+01:00By Compliance Week

JPMorgan Chase, Danske Bank, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of America all either “Nailed It” or “Failed It” this week.


CFTC issues own guidance on evaluating compliance programs


Like the Department of Justice before it, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued guidance to companies on how it will evaluate compliance programs in connection with enforcement matters.