As we have blogged, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”) amended the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) to expand greatly the options for whistleblowers alleging anti-money laundering (“AML”) violations and potentially create a wave of litigation and government actions, similar to what has occurred in the wake of the creation of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower program.  As we also have blogged, the AMLA’s new whistleblower provision (“the Act”) has attracted great interest from the plaintiffs’ bar, both in the U.S. and abroad, particularly because AML enforcement actions continue to increase and related penalties continue to rise.

We therefore are pleased to invite you to listen to this podcast, in which we explore the Act and its many implications. The podcast discusses who can be a whistleblower under the Act, the increased incentives now provided, new protections against retaliation, the impact of a whistleblower being involved in the conduct, and practical advice for affected institutions.

This podcast also discusses a potentially important point which has not been noted in much of the considerable discussion swirling around the Act, and which seems to have escaped to date the attention of the vast majority of the plaintiffs’ and defense bars.  Specifically, although the Act has robust anti-retaliation protections for whistleblowers, those specific protections do not apply to employees of insured depository institutions or federal credit unions — i.e., the very institutions that likely will be the primary focus of AMLA whistleblowing investigations and litigation.  Although it is of course true that the BSA, and therefore the Act, applies to a variety of defined “financial institutions,” including broker-dealers, casinos and money services businesses, plaintiff and defense attorneys alike have focused, not surprisingly, on the relevance of the Act to banks and credit unions.  But the Act specifically states that its enhanced anti-retaliation subsection “shall not apply with respect to any employer that is subject to Section 33 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. § 1831j) or Section 213 or 214 of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. § 1790b, 1790c).”  That means: banks and federal credit unions.  They remain subject to the previously existing anti-retaliation laws set forth at 12 U.S.C. § 1831j and 12 U.S.C. §§ 1790b, 1790c.  Obviously this does not mean that banks and federal credit unions therefore may retaliate with impunity against whistleblowers.  But it does mean that they are subject to an older and simpler anti-retaliation regime, rather than the more elaborate new procedures set forth under the AMLA.

We hope you enjoy the podcast.

If you would like to remain updated on these issues, please click here to subscribe to Money Laundering Watch. Please click here to find out about Ballard Spahr’s Anti-Money Laundering Team.  To learn more about Ballard Spahr’s Labor and Employment Group, please click here – and to check out HR Law Watch, the Labor and Employment Group’s blog, please click here.