The spotlight collage is dedicated to showcasing influential women who have been in the AML and financial crime prevention field for many years and also to highlight the newcomers into the field who are making their own mark in this exciting industry.
ACAMS Today asked several veterans in the AML and financial crime prevention field to share their proudest AML career moment and this is what they shared with us…
"When I realized AML compliance had gone mainstream and that the senior most leadership at financial institutions now care about getting AML compliance right."
—Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN), United States
"My proudest AML career moment is my participation as a member of the executive committee, in the creation of the ACAMS Montreal chapter because we are the first French speaking ACAMS chapter in the world. It is an opportunity for ACAMS members in Quebec to connect and network face-to-face, and it is also a first step to the creation of other French speaking ACAMS chapters around the world."
—Martine Leroux, CAMS, AML detection and surveillance manager, National Bank of Canada, Canada
"My proudest AML career moment was being recently appointed as co-chair of the SIFMA AML and Financial Crimes Committee. Having served on the Committee for over 15 years, including serving as its AML Hedge Fund sub-committee chair where I was a primary author of its Hedge Fund Suggested Due Diligence Practices piece (published in 2009), this new appointment was particularly gratifying."
—Meg Zucker, global AML officer, United States
Throughout my AML career, I have experienced a lot of satisfying moments, such as being invited as an expert to EAG, guiding banks' efforts in remediation of AML deficiencies as their compliance officer, and becoming a trusted advisor to a number of financial institutions at FIS-EGRC. I am particularly proud that the advice that I provide to my clients not only helps them stay compliant with the regulations, but also eventually closes (or at least narrows) the possibilities for criminal elements to execute money laundering through our financial system."
—Zoya Faynleyb, CAMS, senior manager, AML/sanctions at FIS EGRC, United States
"My proudest AML career moment came when my very first client invited me to service them a second time. I knew then that I was adding value. I have since become their 'go to' for any and all AML compliance matters."
—Laura H. Goldzung, CFE, CAMS, AML Audit Services, LLC, United States
"My proudest AML career moment was working with a team to remove my country's name from FATF blacklist. The defining moment was when the Financial Intelligence Unit of The Bahamas, was declared compliant with FATF Recommendation 26—fulfilling."
—Sharmie Farrington Austin, data protection commissioner, Ministry of Finance, Bahamas
"When I was the State Department's Director of Counterterrorism Finance Programs, my team received an"A–" grade from the 9/11 Commission (the highest grade it granted) in 2005 for our efforts to following the money trail and combat terrorist financing and money laundering."
—Celina Realuyo, president CBR Global Advisors, LLC, professor of practice, National Defense University, United States
"As a BSA compliance officer my proudest career moment cannot be measured by a single item or gesture. My CAMS association has afforded me the direct opportunity to service clients on all levels of compliance making a difference in the day-to-day activities and lives of my clients and giving me a true sense of worth in the duties I perform."
—Cathy Scharf, CAMS, vice president and operations officer, United States
"My proudest AML career moment is chasing our former President Chen's dirty money trail in Switzerland and Singapore in autumn of 2008. The money laundering investigation was ignited from freezing a suspicious bank account in Switzerland. I evaluated the possibilities and results of opening an abroad investigation and then made a brave decision, which made our prosecutors start a global chasing of President Chen's proceeds of crime. The chasing of Chen's dirty money turned out to be Taiwan's scandal of the century."
—Joanna Chi-Jen Ching, CAMS, head prosecutor, Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, Taiwan
"My proudest AML career moment was when I read that a tax attorney, who was the subject of numerous SAR filings by my Department, pleaded guilty to falsifying tax returns and was sentenced to federal prison. This case highlights the successful collaboration between the financial services industry and law enforcement."
—Susan Wahba, CAMS, EVP and chief risk officer, Grandpoint Bank, United States
"I would have to say my proudest moments have been developing efficiencies in our BSA program with our AML software. I work closely with the software to validate all transaction activity and have created process and reporting that help us to effectively identify suspicious activity. The processes have been validated effective through audits and exams from external and regulatory auditors. We have repeatedly received exams with little to no findings and I accredit a lot of that success to the processes that I have put in place with our software."
—Paula Tobar, CAMS, AVP BSA/USA Patriot Act officer, Bank of Nevada, United States
"I am most proud of the partnerships we have formed in the ongoing fight against money laundering. The ability of prosecutors, law enforcement agents, regulators and industry professionals to work together is imperative to our collective success in the ever changing AML environment."
—Meryl Lutsky, chief, crime proceeds strike force, Criminal Enforcement & Financial Crimes Bureau, United States
"For the last 12 years I have spearheaded a very successful yearly symposium for the Puerto Rico Bankers Association, which has been the primary forum to educate the financial community in AML matters. It has provided our local industry with access to U.S. regulators and help foster an open relation and dialogue with law enforcement for better identification and submission of suspicious activities."
—María de Lourdes Jiménez, Esq., senior vice president and division manager, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
"My proudest AML career moment was when ACAMS Today published my article "$5.00 to ruin the life of children and women: Internet ad sites used to launder money in promoting prostitution/human trafficking." This was my proudest moment because my published article opened the door for me to start lobbying for a FinCEN SAR check box category for human trafficking. Since my article was published, I was able to be printed in the FinCEN 23rd edition of the SAR Activity Review Tips, Trends and Issues with my article titled, "FinCEN SAR check box for Human Trafficking." I have continued lobbying for the SAR to be changed and I can report back that Congress has commissioned FinCEN to come up with red flag indicators for human trafficking. I was honored to assist with this and had a conference call with FinCEN where we brainstormed the red flag indicators for human trafficking based on my experience. My goal is to help in the fight to end human trafficking by following the illicit money trail through the SAR process to help rescue the victims, save lives and arrest the traffickers and johns."
—Joann Alicea, CFCI, certified financial crimes investigator, United States
"Many of my proudest AML career moments were truly team efforts. However, obtaining the CAMS certification was certainly an individual highlight for me. I appreciate all those dedicated AML professionals who encouraged me, and hope I can do the same for others."
— Mary Bashore, CAMS, president, Bashore Business Solutions, LLC, United States
"One of my proudest and most challenging AML career moves was establishing a BSA/AML compliance program for a higher risk non-bank financial institution in a business environment where BSA/AML compliance, as a best practice, was met with competing priorities and executive management was resistant to change. Through this experience, I learned the importance of effective communication and the power of influence."
—Fredia S. Wynne, CAMS, senior specialty risk examiner, United States
"The date was March 19, 2013, and the location was sunny Hollywood, Florida, the venue for the 18th Annual ACAMS International AML and Financial Crimes Conference. This was the day that ACAMS Executive Vice President John J. Byrne publicly recognized the efforts of the BSA Coalition by giving it the ACAMS Private-Public Sector Service Award. As a regulatory advisor to this unique organization, a group of AML professionals who discuss and resolve BSA/AML issues, I have learned so much. I am honored to be among women recognized in the AML field."
—Elaine Rudolph Yancey, MBA, CAMS, managing examiner, The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, United States
"My moments of greatest job satisfaction have always centered on learning that the information we provide to law enforcement is being used and is of value. It's great to hear that our SARs are 'very useful.' As for what I am most proud of, it is my team. Their skills and dedication are incredible. I truly believe that we are only as successful as the teams we build."
—Debbie Hitzeroth, CAMS, BSA/OFAC compliance officer, United States Postal Service, United States
"Several proud moments come to mind…earning my CAMS certification, publishing my first article in ACAMS Today, and I feel proud each day working for an innovative company that plays a significant role in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crime."
—Carol Stabile, CAMS, senior business manager, Safe Banking Systems, United States
"Financial crime is my passion, it's not just a job. Given my experience in both industry and academia, and all sides of financial crime, be it investigations, risk or compliance, making a difference by bridging the gap between theory and practice is something I'm proud of—especially as the two do not always concur!"
—Julie Beesley, CAMS, group head of AML/CTF and sanctions (MLRO and GSO), Group Risk, Australia
"My proudest AML career moment was forming the ACAMS Southern California (SoCal) Chapter in 2009. As the founder and co-chair, it has been a rewarding experience to be able to provide Southern California professionals with affordable access to learning events unique to our community and networking opportunities. In addition, the ACAMS SoCal Chapter was recognized as the chapter of the year in 2012. That was an exceptional proud moment, knowing that the hard work and dedication of the SoCal Board was recognized for the efforts and standards we established to carry out our mission."
—Elizabeth A. Slim, CAMS, senior vice president, BSA officer, 1st Enterprise Bank, United States
Women in AML showcase continued
ACAMS Today also had the opportunity to chat with the newcomers in the industry and asked them what they hope to achieve in the AML field and here is what they shared with us…
"I hope to continue to represent ACAMS here in Canada and in the global arena, in creating training opportunities and communicating changes to the AML environment. Additionally, I hope that by encouraging dialogue and open participation, this will only serve to enrich my own knowledge and experience which in turn I can use to impact the AML program within the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and the AML/ATF/Sanctions regulatory environment here in Canada."
—Rosalind Laruccia, CAMS, senior manager, AML audit, Internal Audit Services, Royal Bank of Canada, Canada
"Strong BSA/AML standards should not be the burden of compliance officers alone. My business counterparts are in the process of getting CAMS certified. I'm dedicated to achieving that level of shared commitment to AML values in the larger banking industry."
—Rachele C. Byrne, CAMS, vice president, AML compliance officer at a global financial services company, United States
"Raising awareness around money laundering schemes, particularly in an environment where products and services are evolving so quickly, is important to me. Through education, training and involvement in organizations such as ACAMS we can help deliver to the industry timely information to help organizations and employees stay vigilant."
—Sepideh Behram, Esq., United States
"I hope to continue to support companies in managing the compliance, regulatory and reputational risks attached to their existing and prospective customers, by sharing insights, and offering thought leadership on emerging and shifting risk areas around the globe. With the help of our innovative and efficient approach to risk assessment, and our risk analysis and monitoring tools, I hope to continue working with financial institutions to effectively mitigate their exposure to money laundering risks."
—Jennifer Hanley-Giersch, CAMS, managing partner, Berlin Risk Limited, Germany
"Professional succession planning, coupled with personal social responsibility, has been always my north. To me, it is key not to rule but to develop and maintain relationships making choices that lead to a more fruitful and socially aware result. The learning and networking opportunities available in our industry are essential to the recognition of new AML/CTF trends that would allow professionals to create meaningful rules or standards for the industry they represent."
—Kathalin Carvalho, CAMS, co-chair ACAMS Central Florida Chapter, United States
"Working in the private sector of the AML field, what I hope to achieve is not just to ensure compliance with the BSA/AML regulations but also to be able to contribute and establish a true partnership with the government and law enforcement to detect and deter money laundering and other illegal activities. Achieving this would serve the real purpose of BSA and ultimately protect our economy and financial system from abuse by criminals."
—Margaret Chow, CAMS, vice president/BSA and assistant compliance officer, The Bank of East Asia Limited, United States
"To play an integral role in raising the accuracy of the detection of money laundering, terrorist financing, and all related financial crimes to support the advancement of future financial crime detection capabilities."
—Cathy Nanos, CAMS, director of operations, Financial Crimes Intelligence Unit, United States
"I am really engaged with clients and contacts in order to work towards achieving a better understanding of why AML is important and to connect the dots with the business and day-to-day operations; so that fundamentally, AML is a part of what we do…it is not something else that we do!"
—Jennifer Fiddian-Green, CAMS, member of the GTA ACAMS chapter executive; partner, Grant Thornton LLP, Canada
"I recently started Radosyn Training and Advisory. Radosyn's goal is to assist Eastern European countries as well as financial institutions in the Netherlands, in implementing AML and financial crime legislation by sharing best practices through compliance training and advisory. Sustainable businesses require a level playing field, integrity and ethics. At Radosyn we assist in developing and implementing procedures that will contribute to short- and long-term objectives. I believe my work at Radosyn will help contribute and successfully achieve our objectives within the ever-changing landscape of global financial markets."
—Yevgeniya Balyasna-Hooghiemstra, CAMS, founding partner, Radosyn, Netherlands
"Our world the one we create through the standards we set and the laws we write will mold the future for our children. I hope to share my knowledge of the malicious ways money laundering affects our society, including heinous acts such as trafficking, and use it to enhance processes, communicate with others, and work together to identify and fight these crimes so the world may be a safer place for all."
—Erica Harper, CAMS, BSA/AML compliance specialist, MSB Compliance Inc., United States
Celebrate International Women's Day 2014, Saturday, March 8