WASHINGTON, D.C. –The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today imposed a civil money penalty against BPI, Inc., a New Jersey money services business (MSB), for willful and repeated violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). BPI has admitted that its conduct violated the BSA and has consented to a civil money penalty in the amount of $125,000.
Despite repeatedly being cited in 2005 and 2006 for serious concerns with its anti-money laundering (AML) program by examiners, BPI failed to address these and other cited deficiencies. A 2011 exam again discovered these same deficiencies more than 5 years after federal and state authorities had first issued warnings and corrective actions to BPI. In addition to deficiencies with its internal controls, independent testing, and training, examiners found that, prior to the 2011 examination, BPI had never filed a single Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). Additionally, BPI employees also allowed customers to conduct transactions without verifying and retaining required identification information and also allowed customers to conduct money transfers by using expired identification documents.
“As with other recent penalty actions by FinCEN, today’s action highlights that money services businesses cannot ignore their anti-money laundering responsibilities, or their examiners,” said FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery. “BPI had plenty of notice of its problems after warnings by state examiners, federal examiners, and even its own independent auditor. There is absolutely no excuse for a financial institution to ignore such warnings and render the U.S. financial system vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing.”
In November 2013, BPI’s parent, Banco BPI, S.A., received approval from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to establish representative offices in New Jersey and Massachusetts. BPI ceased operations as an MSB in March 2014.