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Benjamin W. Hutten Quoted in Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists Article, "In Wake of OFAC Action Against Canadian Payment Processor, Bank to Review Customers, Policies"

Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists

Benjamin W. Hutten

Benjamin W. Hutten was quoted on September 29, 2016 in an Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists article, "In Wake of OFAC Action Against Canadian Payment Processor, Bank to Review Customers, Policies." According to the article, during the week of September 19, the U.S. government “launched a coordinated assault against a global network of mass mailing schemes,” which allegedly defrauded individuals out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The article added, “At the heart of the wide-ranging action is the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) designation of PacNet, a payment processor and money services business (MSB) headquartered in Vancouver. OFAC said PacNet actively helped fraudulent merchants steal from millions of victims, mostly elderly and vulnerable individuals, by allowing scammers entry into the international financial system, in some cases even after being warned of their illicit acts.” The U.S. government’s move was unique since this was the first time OFAC “used its powers to blacklist transnational organized criminal groups on a foreign, commercial company that helped fraudsters steal and then launder money.”

Banks are likely to focus on how OFAC handled the PacNet accounts. Hutten added, “That move is a message to other operations – whether they are a bank, MSB or payment processor – that if you are engaging in transactions that help criminal groups, designated or not, you could get designated as an SDN yourself, and that may be the death penalty. The PacNet action gives teeth to that risk.” 

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