The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued an advisory alert for financial institutions concerning the potential flow of money from Venezuela to the United States due to political instability surrounding widespread corruption in the South American nation.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has just obtained specialized software for identifying users of bitcoins and other virtual currency. According to a work contract obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Daily Beast, the IRS hopes to use this software "to identify and obtain evidence on individuals using bitcoin to either laundry money or conceal income as part of tax fraud or other Federal crimes."
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced on August 22, 2017 that it will be targeting shell companies purchasing luxury properties for $2 million or more in the California counties of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo, or Santa Clara. Luxury property purchases in certain counties in Texas, Florida, New York, and Hawaii will also be under scrutiny per FinCEN's recent Geographic Targeting Order.
The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) team was recently recognized by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) at its third annual Law Enforcement Awards ceremony on May 9, 2017, for the IRS-CI's cyber security work investigating the sale of narcotics on the dark web. Certain targets were identified by the financial information involved in these illegal sales, despite their efforts to conceal the proceeds using Bitcoins and Bitcoin laundering.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may begin ramping up its investigation of offshore account compliance soon, based on recommendations from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). TIGTA recently released its final report on the IRS' offshore voluntary disclosure programs (OVDPs) after analyzing a stratified random sample of 100 taxpayers from a population of 3,182 requests to participate in the OVDP that were ultimately denied or withdrawn. Twenty-nine of these should likely have been subject to FBAR penalties, but the IRS did not pursue compliance actions. TIGTA projected a potential $21.6 million in delinquent FBAR penalties that the IRS could have assessed and collected.
The U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a new program that will require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the people hiding behind shell companies who use those companies to pay cash in expensive real estate transactions. Following Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs), title insurance companies in the counties of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Diego will provide details of all-cash luxury purchases of residential properties by a legal entity, such as an LLC, to FinCEN for six months beginning August 28, 2016. Earlier this year FinCEN issued similar GTOs in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County. By expanding into California and other parts of New York, Florida, and Texas, FinCEN hopes to continue to identify and thwart the abuse of these transactions for money laundering purposes.
The US Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) announced on May 11, 2016, that it is issuing final rules under the Bank Secrecy Act to "clarify and strengthen customer due diligence (CDD) requirements for: Banks; brokers or dealers in securities; mutual funds; and futures commission merchants and introducing brokers in commodities." The final rules, which have been four years in the making, will be effective July 11, 2016. Covered financial institutions must come into compliance by May 11, 2018.
A record number of US taxpayers are coming into compliance with their foreign filing requirements, with 1,163,229 Forms 114 (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR) filed for 2015---an 8 percent increase from 2014. FBAR filings have increased at an average rate of 17 percent per year for the last five years.
Today the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance for financial institutions who seek to provide services to marijuana-related businesses in light of recent state initiatives to legalize certain marijuana-related activities. See FIN-2014-G001. A stated goal of today's guidance is to "enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses."
Today the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to financial institutions to draw attention to two lists of jurisdictions that were recently updated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).