The Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act was signed in December 2022 by President Joe Biden and significantly bolsters the incentives and protections afforded by its predecessor, the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).
One of the key factors behind the enactment of the AMLA was the targeting of Russian oligarchs through an effective whistleblower program that would help to stamp out various money laundering and sanctions-busting schemes.
The original AMLA, which passed in January 2021 as an overhaul of the Bank Secrecy Act whistleblower provision under 31 U.S.C. Section 5323, provided incentives to whistleblowers who came forward with knowledge of financial service institutions at home or abroad that have violated anti-money laundering laws and regulations.
Per the AMLA, whistleblowers who brought forward original information that led to successful enforcement actions and sanctions exceeding $1 million were eligible for monetary awards of up to 30 percent of the government’s collected proceeds.
However, the AMLA did not provide for a mandatory minimum for these awards similar to those seen with the IRS Whistleblower Program or the SEC Whistleblower Programs that require awards between 15 and 30 percent of collected proceeds.
Under the newly improved AMLA, whistleblowers are entitled to a minimum of 10 percent of monetary penalties exceeding $1 million that the government collects based on the claimant’s original information.
The improved AMLA allowed for the creation of a $300 million “Financial Integrity Fund” that will permit the Treasury Department to pay whistleblower awards with no need for further appropriations.
Whistleblower claims put forward under the AMLA can be submitted anonymously as long as they are filed through an attorney.
Whistleblowers with knowledge of BSA or AML violations, as well as other compliance issues at financial institutions, should strongly consider submitting a claim with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which has authority to administer the Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Program.