While the COVID-19 pandemic may have put a damper on how we have shown our appreciation to law enforcement (LE) in recent years, the ACAMS Greater Omaha Chapter’s 2023 Law Enforcement Appreciation lunch and panel presentation was one for the books!
This year we partnered with our local Financial Institution Security Association (FISA) to host the event, which featured a panel presentation by Edward Oslica from the Department of Justice, Anthony Engler from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Tom Meola from the Nebraska State Patrol and Mike Jahnke from First National Bank of Omaha. Over 100 individuals were present, including representatives from ACAMS, the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA), the State Department of Banking, the FBI, the Nebraska State Patrol, as well as numerous financial institutions (FIs) and others.
FISA is a peer group comprised of LE personnel and FIs across the Greater Omaha metro area. The group discusses cases that may cross FIs, as well as trends in the area. Through these conversations, the partnership between LE and FIs has strengthened. The ACAMS Greater Omaha Chapter is proud to partner with FISA on events that further expand that partnership and continue to build relationships with LE across the community.
Panel discussion topics ranged from suspicious activity reporting from an LE standpoint and what FIs can do with the 314(b) form, to an ongoing Nebraska bank fraud scandal, to an uptick in a money laundering trend on which attendees were asked to share information.
Among the particular red flags discussed was the topic of individuals—specifically students—who visit the U.S. temporarily and open bank accounts, as a significant amount of money is laundered through international student accounts. A discussion then ensued concerning the different visa categories and the importance of understanding each one of them, as that may help during an investigation when trying to determine whether money is legitimate. Individuals can be here, but they are not allowed to work, so if income is generated from a “job,” it is part of that money trail. A bank may want to investigate further and understand the true source of those proceeds.
LE shared that when an FI decides to close an account that they have been monitoring or filing on within the narrative of the suspicious activity report, the bank includes the means by which they disbursed the remaining funds in the account. For example, if the remaining funds are disbursed as a cashier’s check, FIs should include the check number, date, amount and the bank where it was taken and negotiated. This helps to ensure an investigative trail does not go cold, as LE would then know almost immediately where to pick the trail back up and continue any monitoring that they may be doing.
Aside from the panel interviews, the luncheon also provided an opportunity for attendees to network and further discuss topics with the panelists and the other professionals at the event.
Something remarkable about the Omaha area is the eagerness shown by both financial and LE professionals to create a collaborative relationship. Many banks in our area are dedicating resources to entire financial crimes departments and staff. The number of resources dedicated to combating financial crime is the greatest we have ever seen, which is incredibly encouraging.
At the ACAMS Greater Omaha Chapter, one of our goals is to continue to create opportunities for financial and LE professionals to engage in mutually beneficial ways that ultimately aid in the fight against financial crime. We are looking forward to creating more of these opportunities in the months and years to come!
ACAMS Greater Omaha Chapter Board, firstname.lastname@example.org