BSA compliance deficiencies bring penalties of $6.5 million

Feb. 26, 2016 -- Penalties of $6.5 million have been assessed against a Florida bank for “willfully violating” federal anti-money laundering under the Bank Secrecy Act, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has announced.

FinCEN assessed a $4 million civil money penalty (CMP) against the bank; the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) – the bank’s primary regulator –issued a $2.5 million CMP against the bank.

The two agencies took action against Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust Company of Coral Gables, Fla. According to FinCEN, Gibraltar was first warned by the OCC about its BSA compliance deficiencies in 2010 and later placed under Consent Order in 2014.

FinCEN also stated that Gibraltar failed to “monitor and detect suspicious activity despite red flags.” Specifically, Gibraltar

  • maintained a transaction monitoring system that contained incomplete and inaccurate account opening information and customer risk profiles;
  • failed to sufficiently address an automated monitoring system that generated an unmanageable number of alerts;
  • failed to properly train its compliance staff and
  • failed to develop and implement an adequate customer identification program. 

FinCEN noted that the institution “failed to timely file at least 120 suspicious activity reports (SARs) involving nearly $558 million in transactions that occurred between 2009 and 2013” and this failure contributed to the delayed discovery of a $1.2 billion dollar Ponzi scheme by a Florida attorney. 

The assessment will be deemed satisfied by an immediate payment of $1.5 million to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and by paying $2.5 million in accordance with the penalty imposed by the OCC. 

FinCEN press release
CMP assessment