Although it’s often used to evade taxes, redirect taxpayer money to bribe foreign officials, or get around economic sanctions, money laundering is more than just a financial matter. This type of fraud implies the conduct of the illegal activity, which may include anything from drug smuggling to the trafficking of humans and weapons.
Shell companies “clean” the money, hiding the criminal operation that’s actually generating the revenue. Fortunately, new legislation may help combat money laundering by encouraging potential whistleblowers to come forward and protecting them from retaliation by their employers.
The Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA)
Voted into law on January 1st of 2021, the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) helps identify shell companies that cover up illegal activities.
Specifically, the AMLA:
- Requires companies to disclose their ownership to the U.S. Department of Treasury when the business is formed or when ownership changes
- Rewards whistleblowers who provide information that leads to an enforceable action
- Allows whistleblowers to report violations anonymously and still qualify for an award
- Allows whistleblowers to file retaliation lawsuits if they have been punished or treated unfairly
- Prohibits the Department of the Treasury and Department of Justice from disclosing information that could reveal a whistleblower’s identity
Whistleblower Reward Program
The whistleblower reward program created by the AMLA expands upon the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) whistleblower incentive law. This previous law rewarded individuals who offered information about BSA violations, so long as the information led to a monetary recovery of over $50,000. It also capped awards at $150,000 or 25% of the money recovered through fines, penalties, or forfeiture (whichever is less) and it didn’t necessarily mandate that the whistleblower be paid an award at all. This was deemed insufficient incentive for would-be whistleblowers to risk their careers.
The whistleblower reward program established by the AMLA offers more worthwhile financial incentives to report information about potential illegal activity. It also stipulates that whistleblowers may provide this information to their employer, the Department of the Treasury, or the Department of Justice.
Determining the Amount of Award
If the settlement is worth $1,000,000 or more, the AMLA program awards whistleblowers up to 30% of the total amount recovered. The exact amount of compensation a whistleblower may receive depends on factors such as:
- The value of the information provided
- The extent to which the whistleblower assists with the case
- The deterrent of similar violations in the future
- Other relevant factors as decided by the Department of the Treasury
Contact a Whistleblower Attorney
If you or a loved one have information about money laundering, you may be hesitant to speak up for fear of retaliation by your company. The good news is that Morgan & Morgan’s specialized attorneys can protect your rights and get you the compensation you’re owed for blowing the whistle.
Morgan & Morgan has an army of over 700 attorneys and 3,000 support staff operating across the country. Fill out a free, no-risk case evaluation form to find out if we can help.