This past quarter was one of change for the U.S. Capital Chapter's board of directors. Joe Soniat, one of the founding co-chairs of the U.S. Capital Chapter, has decided to focus on the Richmond Chapter where he has once again taken a leadership role as co-chair. Soniat's energy and organizational skill in the formation of the U.S. Capital Chapter was invaluable. While the Richmond Chapter will now be the primary beneficiary of his talents, Soniat will still lend advice and knowledge to the Capital Chapter Board. The chapter appreciates his continuing interest in its success and growth.
The U.S. Capital Chapter's other founding co-chair John Byrne, took on a challenging and rewarding job since the chapter's launch. As one might expect, his role as executive director of ACAMS keeps him on the move. Even after accepting this position, his involvement and leadership of the DC Chapter has been significant. Yet, as indefatigable as Byrne is, he is stepping down from the co-chair position. Fortunately for the chapter, he is remaining on the board and will continue to be a unique, and much appreciated, force in the operations of the chapter.
Stepping into the co-chair roles are Dennis Lormel of DML Associates and Ed Beemer of ComplianceComm. Both Lormel, a well-known subject-matter expert and speaker in and beyond the AML community, and Beemer a regular contributor to ACAMS publications on the subject of compliance communications are looking forward to building on the success of their predecessors.
As we all know, lives, careers and time commitments change. Some of the chapter's original board members are retiring from the board and accepting a new designation as special advisors. They will continue to serve the chapter they helped found by providing expertise and special project leadership as needed. Joe Soniat, Ross Delston, and Mike Mancusi have taken on this role. Their contributions were critical to our start-up and we look forward to their continued involvement in the success of the chapter.
The chapter welcomes three new board members: Lester Joseph, international investigations manager in the Financial Intelligence Unit at Wells Fargo Bank; Sepideh Behram, chief compliance officer for Travelex Global Business Payments, Inc. for North America; and Robert S. Pasley, attorney and consultant with Pasley Consulting.
Even during this time of change, the U.S. Capital Chapter has continued its commitment to providing quality learning events to area ACAMS members. This quarter kicked off with a session on alien smuggling and human trafficking. These are growing crimes that compliance officers need to watch for, according to Stephen Adaway, unit chief, Office Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Adaway provided an overview of these two sometimes related crimes and supplied examples from the ICE case files during a U.S. Capital Chapter learning event on April 19.
"This in an important crime problem because this is such a heinous offense," said Dennis Lormel, U.S. Capital Chapter co-chair. "Banks can do things proactively to identity transactional activities consistent with trafficking to help stop this crime. The work JPMorgan Chase did with ICE is an excellent example."
This session was the first of the chapter's packed calendar of spring and summer learning and networking events. These include a multi-session seminar on Money Services Businesses (MSBs) and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Compliance which focus on: key issues surrounding MSBs compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act; pending legislation regarding foreign counter parts; and major findings regarding MSB BSA compliance from state regulators. This summer the chapter will also co-host learning events with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit of Fairfax County. Networking events are being held throughout the summer at locations in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
"I believe the core mission of every ACAMS Chapter is to provide members opportunities to advance their AML careers through education from relevant subject-matter experts and professional networking," said Ed Beemer, U.S. Capital co-chair. "If a chapter provides these benefits, it should grow and thrive. The chapter's upcoming events are focusing on a diverse mix of subjects in the AML environment. They will enable our members to understand more fully some of the new challenges that face the AML profession and learn about what we need to do to meet those challenges."