In the US, civil and criminal penalties may be imposed against a financial institution, or any of its officers, directors, and employees. Penalties pursuant to a BSA civil action vary significantly based on the type of violation and the enforcement authority.1 The maximum BSA-related criminal penalty is $250,000 and up to five years’ imprisonment. However, if the violation is part of a pattern of conduct involving more than $100,000 over a 12-month period and involves the violation of another US criminal law, the penalty increases to $500,000 and up to 10 years’ imprisonment.2
The maximum BSA-related civil penalty can vary significantly. For example, federal banking regulators have the authority to impose penalties from $5,000 per violation to $1,000,000, or 1% of the assets of a financial institution, whichever is greater, for every day that the violation occurs.3 Other federal regulators and self-regulatory organizations have independent civil penalty authorities. Penalties are primarily assessed for AML compliance program deficiencies, failures to file SARs, or in combination with other BSA violations.
A person convicted of a substantive money laundering offense under POCA could receive a sentence of up to 14 years’ imprisonment, or a fine, or both. Definitive guidance is provided by the Sentencing Council regarding sentencing in substantive money laundering cases (see here). A person in the regulated sector convicted of the offense of failure to report suspicious activity could receive a sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment, or a fine, or both.
1 31 CFR § 1010.920.
2 31 USC § 5322.
3 12 USC § 1818(i).