Newly Formed San Diego – Baja California Chapter Supports Local Community

Since the ACAMS San Diego – Baja California Chapter held its inaugural event in October 2017, the chapter has provided a wide range of learning events for all anti-money laundering (AML) professionals in the greater San Diego and Baja California area. Neighbored to Mexico, with the largest land-border crossing in the world, this region has unique and complex AML challenges. Creating a network of knowledgeable, motivated and professional AML experts has been the goal of the chapter since its inception. The chapter has been successful in attracting AML professionals from various industries to their learning events and having them join their membership roster over the past fourteen months. The past events have been highly productive due to strong partnerships with local law enforcement and roots in the region.

The chapter has held several events since inception to support ongoing learning and networking for the region:

  • ACAMS San Diego – Baja California Chapter Launch Event on October 3, 2017: A social networking event was held following a local Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/AML workshop. The chapter introduced their board as well as exciting upcoming events for the region. The chapter took time to meet with everyone in attendance to hear what they would like to see in future learning events.
  • Due Diligence and Investigations Forum on November 6, 2017: A full-day comprehensive learning event was held with over 50 in attendance covering topics from law enforcement case studies, a customer due diligence (CDD) workshop, identity theft and suspicious activity report (SAR) best practices.
  • Ronald McDonald House Meal on January 8, 2018: The chapter board, along with chapter members and other AML professionals, volunteered an evening to serve the local Ronald McDonald House Charities. The chapter provided a full meal to the families of those staying at the House. This working relationship with the Ronald McDonald House Charities was established with great pride.
  • Human Trafficking: Law Enforcement Perspective and Prevention on February 8, 2018: A learning event was held to educate the industry on the dark reality of human trafficking (HT). Subjects included how criminal organizations operate, the cross-border perspective, and how financial institutions can play a role in combating and detecting HT.
  • Final Rule: Final Countdown on April 13, 2018: The Financial Crime Enforcement Network issued the CDD Final Rule under the BSA for banks and other covered financial institutions. This learning event provided attendees a final chance to speak with their regulators about the upcoming regulatory changes.
  • Cannabis Chaos—The Cole Memo has been rescinded, now what? on May 22, 2018: This half-day event provided attendees the opportunity to hear from industry experts about the complex environment surrounding cannabis cash.
  • Law Enforcement Roundtable on August 22, 2018: During this half-day educational event, speakers from the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), Defense Criminal Investigative Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and Homeland Security Investigations presented on topics including healthcare fraud, funnel accounts, marijuana, trade-based money laundering, SAR narratives, romance schemes and gambling.
  • Second Annual Financial Crimes Forum on November 7, 2018: During this full-day educational event, multi-institution hot topics that were discussed included money services business AML best practices, casino/card room transaction monitoring, cryptocurrency, Office of Foreign Assets Control/sanctions compliance, and real life case studies from the FBI, IRS-CI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
  • Second Annual Ronald McDonald House Meal on December 18, 2018: In the spirit of community, the chapter held its final 2018 event by coming together with its board and chapter members, along with their respective family and friends, to purchase, prepare and serve a meal to the families at Ronald McDonald House for the second year in a row.

Ronald McDonald House San Diego provides a “home away from home” for families spending long days and nights at the hospital with their child. The ACAMS San Diego – Baja California Chapter members and volunteers were able to provide a hot and nutritious meal to these exhausted and overwhelmed families, while also giving them a chance to relax and connect with others before facing the next day. Monetary donations for the meal were accepted at the chapter’s Second Annual Financial Crimes Forum. The monetary donations covered the purchase of all meal items. Over 200 people were served on the evening of the volunteer efforts. The chapter plans on continuing to give back to the community and helping the House annually. By committing to volunteer work, the chapter believes it will bring the members closer together as a unified chapter to position themselves as a standout pillar of the community.

Melissa Triplett, CAMS, VP, deputy BSA officer, Pacific Western Bank, San Diego, CA, USA, co-chair, San Diego – Baja California Chapter, mtriplett@pacificwesternbank.com

Natalie Soto, CAMS, CFE, VP, BSA officer, Seacoast Commerce Bank, San Diego, CA, USA, events and programming director, San Diego – Baja California Chapter, nsoto@sccombank.com

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