US: Anti-Money-Laundering Whistleblower Program Struggles to Get Off Ground
A new U.S. program to reward those who report possible violations of anti-money-laundering laws has gotten off to a slow start, as some lawyers say the lack of a minimum reward and delays in establishing the systems for receiving and investigating tips have made them reluctant to take on whistleblowers as clients.
The cash-for-tips program, included in the annual defense-spending bill passed into law in January, aims to offer rewards to people who voluntarily provide original information to the Treasury Department or the Justice Department on possible violations of the Bank Secrecy Act when their tips lead to enforcement actions where monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.
The provision of the National Defense Authorization Act said tipsters can receive up to 30% of the monetary penalties collected in an enforcement action brought by the Treasury Department or attorney general and from related actions.
But the bill didn’t set a deadline for the implementation of the whistleblower regulatory framework, designate an agency to implement it or set a floor for rewards. That stands in contrast to the bounty programs at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which offer a 10% minimum reward payment to successful whistleblowers.