Kirby McInerney LLP | Whistleblower Practice | FinCEN and OFAC
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Fighting for Financial Crimes Whistleblowers: Reporting Money Laundering and Sanctions Violations

Whistleblowers can now receive awards for reporting anti-money laundering and sanctions violations to the Treasury Department.  The awards can be between 10% and 30% of the government’s resulting recoveries.  Whistleblowers can report the violations anonymously, and they can receive protection from professional retaliation.
Reports of money laundering violations and other violations of the Bank Secrecy Act are made to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”).  Reports of sanctions violations are made to its Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).
The Treasury Department has signaled a specific interest in identifying banks that are attempting to avoid sanctions on Russia imposed in connection with the war in Ukraine, Including through the use of shell companies, convertible virtual currency (CVC), and other schemes.  

About the Money Laundering and Sanctions Whistleblower Programs

Who Can Be a Whistleblower?

Anyone who voluntarily submits original information to FinCEN about possible violations of the Bank Secrecy Act can be a FinCEN whistleblower or to OFAC about possible violations of sanctions rules. “Original information” is information derived from your independent knowledge (facts known to you that are not derived from publicly available sources) or independent analysis (evaluation of information that may be publicly available, but which reveals information that is not generally known) that is not already known to the government.  The whistleblower need not be an insider, and need not work or reside in the United States.  Internal compliance and audit personnel can receive whistleblower awards under these programs.

How to Become a Whistleblower

Whistleblowers must submit their information directly to FinCEN or OFAC.  The program allows for whistleblowers to make their submissions anonymously.

Whistleblower Awards Available

Whistleblower awards in the Treasury Department programs are available where the whistleblower’s information that leads to an enforcement action in which over $1 million in monetary sanctions is recovered by the Treasury Department, or by other authorities, such as the Department of Justice. The awards are between 10% and 30% of the sanctions recovered. 

Whistleblower Confidentiality

The Treasury Department whistleblower programs permit a whistleblower to file anonymously, provided they are represented by an attorney.  Even where a whistleblower submission is not made anonymously, FinCEN and OFAC are required to preserve the confidentiality of whistleblowers to the extent permitted by law.

Protection Against Employment Retaliation

The Treasury Department whistleblower programs also protects against employment retaliation and discrimination, providing for the right to bring an action in court or before the Department of Labor to seek compensatory damages, reinstatement, and double back pay. 

Contact Kirby McInerney

If you are aware of violations of the Bank Secrecy Act or U.S. sanctions and would like to discuss them with a member of Kirby McInerney’s whistleblower team, please contact us.