Greater Twin Cities Chapter Update

The Greater Twin Cities (GTC) ACAMS chapter launch event was a big success! Close to 90 attendees got together on October 27th, at the Minneapolis Hilton. The event began with a networking session, sponsored by Dominion Advisory Group, where attendees had the opportunity to speak with the event’s esteemed panel of speakers and learn more about the benefits of joining the chapter.

The chapter was honored to have John Byrne, executive vice president of ACAMS, in attendance. John kicked off the learning section of the event with comments on the value of collaboration across all sectors of the AML industry and the benefits that the CAMS certification brings as a validation of industry expertise.

The next speaker was David Caruso, the chief executive officer of Dominion Advisory Group. David presented his candid views regarding the challenge of balancing the requirements of policymakers, while also producing valuable information for law enforcement. He described how, in his opinion, AML regulations can have a limited effect in stopping criminal activity.

David also spoke about the components of an effective AML monitoring system, explaining the necessity for an adequately staffed team to perform ongoing investigation of subjects previously included in SARs. David also discussed how important it is for AML managers to understand and articulate their department’s metrics, in order to justify necessary staffing.

David was followed by IRS special agent, Jacqueline Tschida, who is a member of the local SAR Review Team. She explained the member selection process and goals of the group. She also reviewed some cases investigated by this team, detailing the importance of information provided by the local financial industry in SARs. Jackie also provided information on local SAR trends.

Following was Richard Waller, special agent with the FBI. Richard educated the group on the various types of criminal activity investigated by the FBI. He also presented information on emerging criminal trends such as an increase in international prepaid card scams, mortgage fraud, and financial consultant schemes.

The final speaker was Mark Twombly, special agent with the FBI, focused on counter-terrorist investigations. Mark presented information on the local investigations and trends he is seeing. Mark shared that the Greater Twin Cities area has unexpectedly high levels of known terrorists conducting financial transactions. This was especially enlightening for the attendees.

The evening ended with a question and answer session, which included a lively debate on whether or not regulators are focused on identifying “gotchas” or on helping companies build AML compliance programs which will help law enforcement stop criminals. There was a consensus to amicably agree to disagree. A networking event is being planned for early in the New Year. Anyone from Miami brave enough to attend this winter networking event in Minnesota will receive a complimentary hot beverage of their choice.

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