NYDFS fines money transmitter $8.25 million for AML compliance failures
On March 16, NYDFS announced the imposition of an $8.25 million fine on a money transmitter alleged to have violated anti-money laundering (“AML”) requirements and New York law by failing to adequately supervise local agents in New York City that processed an unusual volume of suspicious transactions to China. NYDFS conducted an examination and enforcement investigation, which found that the company “did not adequately oversee the activity of six agents that saw a large spike in transaction volume of business with China.” According to the investigation, there were roughly 7,500 transactions aggregating approximately $30 million in 2014. These figures rose to more than 25,000 transactions aggregating more than $100 million during the period between January 2016 and May 2017. Most of these transactions were processed by small, store-front independent agents—“a clear indicator of increased money laundering risk, particularly given that the destination was known to carry a high AML risk,” NYDFS stated, adding that the company should have also addressed risks resulting from a suspicious pattern of different senders transmitting money to the same recipient. NYDFS acknowledged that the company, when alerted to the increased transaction activity, severed its relationship with the problematic agents and implemented remedial measures to improve supervision of its agents. Under the terms of the consent order, the company will pay an $8.25 civil money penalty and is required to submit a report to NYDFS outlining enhancements made with respect to new and existing agents, suspicious activity reporting program, and special transaction limitations. Additionally, NYDFS announced that the company will also update the Department on improvements to the policies and procedures of its Bank Secrecy Act/AML compliance program and will provide data to NYDFS for ongoing monitoring purposes.