In 2016, Congress instructed the Department of Defense (DoD) to review its procurement regulations by convening a panel of procurement professionals—from both the public and private sectors. This panel became known as the Section 809 Panel (809 Panel). Congress instructed the 809 Panel to recommend amendments or repeals of defense procurement regulations. The 809 Panel’s objective was to help streamline or improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the defense acquisition process while still maintaining an advantage in defense technology. While Congress and the DoD are not required to adopt these recommendations, the report shows an attempt to define the issues in modern federal procurement and improve upon the old system. Continue Reading Section 809 Panel Releases First Volume of Recommendations for the Overhaul of DoD’s Acquisition Process

Post at a glance:

  • FinCEN imposes $8 million penalty against California’s biggest and oldest card club
  • Club failed to implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program and failed to detect, deter, and report suspicious transactions
  • Enforcement action serves as valuable reminder of scope of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)

As mentioned in our prior AML Update, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) continues to aggressively enforce anti-money laundering and other financial crimes laws.

The latest target? California’s biggest and oldest card club, Artichoke Joe’s.

Continue Reading Anti-Money Laundering Update: California Card Club Clubbed by FinCEN for AML Violations

This Post at a Glance:

  • FinCEN imposes $2 million penalty against community bank
  • Bank failed to conduct appropriate due diligence related to Mexican customer
  • Small banks, other financial institutions need to recognize obligations under Bank Secrecy Act

On October 27, 2017, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a $2 million fine against Lone Star National Bank, an independent community bank in Texas, for “willfully violating” anti-money laundering (AML) requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).  FinCEN, which is part of the U.S. Treasury Department, has a primary role in safeguarding the U.S. financial system against money laundering and other illicit uses.

Continue Reading Anti-Money Laundering Update: FinCEN Makes Small Texas Bank Pay Big Fine for Violating Bank Secrecy Act

Thad McBride | Export Controls: Compliance Challenges and Best Practices | WebinarI am presenting a Clear Law Institute (CLI) webinar titled, “Export Controls: Compliance Challenges and Best Practices.” As the government continues to aggressively enforce its export laws, it is increasingly essential for exporters to understand the laws and their corresponding obligations. This webinar will explore the key challenges companies face when engaging in export transactions, as well as best practices for avoiding enforcement action.

Webinar topics include:

  • Examining the primary US export controls laws and regulations
  • Understanding penalties and recent enforcement actions
  • Recognizing key compliance challenges
  • Compliance best practices to prevent and detect violations

The webinar will be held on Wednesday, November 8 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. EST. This webinar has been approved for 1.25 hours of general Tennessee CLE credit. For more information and registration, visit the CLI website.

Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington denied a motion to limit damages against a government contractor, United States ex rel. Savage v. Washington Closure Hanford LLC, where the government sought several categories of damages for alleged False Claims Act (FCA) violations.  With a case centered on a nuclear waste company falsely certifying compliance with small business plan participation requirements, the Court ruled that damages would not be limited to remedies provided in the contract.

Continue Reading Court Rejects Cap on FCA Damages for Allegations of Subcontracting Plan Fraud

  • Penalty imposed against Exxon related to contracts with Russian oil company Rosneft
  • Rosneft is not a prohibited party but its president is
  • OFAC alleges that “senior-most” Exxon management were involved
  • Exxon responds with suit against OFAC

On July 20, 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that ExxonMobil (Exxon) must pay a $2 million penalty for violating U.S. sanctions on Russia.  On the same day, Exxon responded by suing OFAC.

Continue Reading U.S. Penalizes Exxon for Violating U.S. Sanctions on Russia, May Have Complicated How U.S. Companies do Business in Russia

I commented on an article published in RealClearDefense, on the impact of the April executive order highlighting the Trump administration’s intention to renew the focus on sourcing domestic resources and employees for government contracts. The order requires increased enforcement of current “Buy American” laws, which date back to the Depression-era statutes Congress passed in 1933. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Commerce Department released follow-up guidance in late June requiring all federal agencies to prepare a compliance plan by September 15, 2017.

Continue Reading “Buy American” Rules Have Major Implications for Defense

A recent report from the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General (IG) identified a number of significant flaws regarding the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) compliance with the Buy American Act (BAA) and the Berry Amendment.  The IG’s findings will likely result in a renewed focus on both BAA and Berry Amendment compliance.  As a result, contractors are likely to experience increased frustration as they seek to remain aligned with DLA policies.  The IG’s report also draws further attention to the previously discussed government-wide effort by President Trump to both enhance compliance with the BAA as presently drafted and potentially strengthen the BAA through legislative action in the future.

Continue Reading DoD IG Report Highlights Flaws in DLA Compliance with Buy American Act and Berry Amendment

  • Proposed legislation would extend sanctions on Russia and Iran
  • New restrictions aimed at Russian energy sector and cybercriminals
  • Legislation may pit Senate against House and the president

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill mandating sanctions against Russia and Iran and a 30-day congressional review period should the president attempt to reduce those sanctions.

The bill remains in the House after congressional leaders challenged the fact that the revenue-raising bill did not originate in the House. The White House nonetheless is in the unenviable position of having to defend (or oppose) the implementation of sanctions against both Iran and Russia while attempting to conduct diplomacy with the Kremlin.  With a veto-proof majority in at least one chamber, the president’s options appear limited.

Continue Reading Senate Passes Russia and Iran Sanctions Legislation

In an article published in the May/June 2017 issue of ABA Bank Compliance (a publication of the American Bankers Association), I provided insight on how banks can mitigate violations with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In January 2017, OFAC announced a settlement in which a large Canadian bank agreed to pay more than $500,000 in monetary penalties for 170 alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran and Cuba. This especially costly example of financial stakes for banks and other financial institutions illustrates the importance of compliance, despite the challenges they face as they process millions of transactions on a daily basis and across international boundaries. While all risks cannot be eliminated, through careful investigation, compliance enhancements, monitoring and record keeping, financial institutions can help mitigate most risks.

For more details on key strategies to protect against violations and to remediate them when they do occur, access the PDF of the article, “Mitigating Economic Sanctions Risk,” below.

Download Document – ABA Bank Compliance May June 2017