Most New York banks have systems in place to identify suspicious financial transactions. For instance, most banks hire workers to scrutinize incoming transactions to watch for possible money laundering activities. Federal prosecutors say the system at one bank based in another state was insufficient and that the bank tried to conceal the deficiencies from regulating bodies and prosecutors. U.S. Bancorp has since agreed to pay more than $600 million to avoid prosecution for felony charges in connection with the situation.
The bank was accused of committing two violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. Both are felonies. It was noted that one of the problems was that the bank did not have adequate numbers of staff or resources to stay on top of suspicious financial activities.
These shortcomings apparently caused the bank to miss several substantial transactions that should have raised concern. One person who used the bank was convicted of conducting an elaborate payday loan scheme. He was ultimately sentenced to more than 16 years in behind bars for the crimes he committed.
Not all felony charges processed in New York or at the federal level result in prosecution, conviction or fines of hundreds of millions of dollars. Implementing strong defense options or challenging certain evidence proffered by prosecutors often leads to favorable results. A key to success may lie in the type of legal representation retained before court proceedings begin. An experienced criminal defense attorney can aggressively combat tactics and strategies set forth by prosecutors in an effort to the tip the scales in a particular defendant's favor.
Source: CNBC, "US Bank to pay more than $600 million over federal charges it had lax anti-money laundering controls", Liz Moyer, Feb. 15, 2018