WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today announced that it has assessed an $8 million civil money penalty on CommunityBank of Texas, N.A. (CBOT) for willful violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its implementing regulations.
Specifically, CBOT admitted that it willfully failed to implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program that was reasonably designed to guard against money laundering. CBOT also admitted that it willfully failed to report hundreds of suspicious transactions to FinCEN involving illegal financial activity by its customers and processed by, at, or through the bank even after the bank became aware that certain customers were subjects of criminal investigations. The violations occurred from at least 2015 through 2019 and caused millions of dollars in suspicious transactions to go unreported to FinCEN in a timely and accurate manner, including transactions connected to tax evasion, illegal gambling, money laundering, and other financial crimes.
“CommunityBank of Texas willfully disregarded its lawful obligations to implement and maintain an effective AML program and to identify and report suspicious transactions to FinCEN,” said FinCEN’s Acting Director Himamauli Das. “The failures of CommunityBank of Texas enabled criminal activity by depriving regulators and law enforcement of critical financial intelligence. Today’s action should serve as a reminder to banks of all sizes that FinCEN and our regulatory partners will work closely together to ensure that banks comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations in order to combat money laundering and promote national security.”
As a result of its own investigation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) assessed a civil penalty of $1 million for related violations. As many of the facts and circumstances underlying the OCC’s civil penalty also form the basis of FinCEN’s Consent Order, FinCEN agreed to credit the $1 million civil penalty imposed by the OCC. Taken together, CBOT will pay a total of $8 million to the U.S. Treasury as a penalty for its violations, with $7 million representing FinCEN’s penalty and $1 million representing the OCC’s penalty.
FinCEN notes its appreciation for the close collaboration and invaluable assistance provided by the OCC, the Dallas Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations Houston, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Beaumont Resident Agency.
For additional information regarding the facts and circumstances associated with this enforcement action, including the specific BSA violations and their underlying causes, please see the Consent Order between FinCEN and CBOT here.