The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

US House Committee on Financial Services Discusses How to Improve the Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Program

Established in 2021, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA) contains a whistleblower provision designed to incentivize individuals to report any money laundering scheme they come across to the Department of Treasury. This is done by awarding whistleblowers up to 30% of any money recovered from a successful enforcement action. Unfortunately, it does not have a minimum amount guaranteed to a whistleblower whose information leads to a successful enforcement action, unlike other whistleblower laws that usually have a minimum of 10% – 15%.  This means that at the end of the day, if the Treasury Secretary decides that your award is 1% of the recovered amount, there is nothing you can do. 

This is only one of the many criticisms AMLA has faced since it was implemented. Another has been the fact that it requires Congress to make appropriations to pay whistleblowers, which means that the budged approved for the AMLA Whistleblower Program does not include money to compensate the whistleblowers like other whistleblower laws do. Finally, the biggest criticism it has received is that it contains so many loopholes that the law will likely be ineffective in reducing money laundering schemes. Thankfully, whistleblower advocates and lawyers have been vocal enough to compel the US House Committee on Financial Services to finally address these issues with a markup session on June 22, 2022. Hopefully this session will lead to the improvement of AMLA, as in recent times, with the sanctions on Russia and other countries, it is imperative that we get a handle on exposing, prosecuting and eliminating money laundering schemes. 

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