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Lawyers for AML Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Compliance

Experienced AML Compliance Team

Do you need anti-money laundering (“AML”) advice regarding your blockchain or crypto business? If so, then now is the time to contact the AML Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Compliance Team at Oberheiden, P.C.

Cryptocurrency transactions present many novel AML risks. For instance, many crypto transactions are anonymous, and some online exchanges offer anonymity.

It is virtually impossible to perform AML and know your customer (“KYC”) checks on an individual whose identity is unknown. This allows criminals to conceal their true identities or use fake identities in order to process the transaction.

Without the ability to verify the customer’s information, both the business, the parties, and the transaction are very high-risk. Thus, federal investigations are on the rise.

Protect your interests by ensuring that your business has strong AML policies and procedures in place regarding your cryptocurrency transactions and business operations.

At Oberheiden, P.C., we can guide you through the steps needed to enhance or build your AML compliance program.

Our team includes former DOJ officials, federal prosecutors, former FBI agents, and former Department of Justice trial lawyers. We use our inside knowledge of the federal system and our intricate knowledge of cryptocurrencies to provide our clients comprehensive advice.

Do not wait to get the advice you need to be AML compliant. Put Oberheiden, P.C. on your side today to get the answers and assurances you need.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden

Founder

Attorney-at-Law

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice

Local Counsel

Joanne Fine DeLena
Joanne Fine DeLena

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney & Former District Attorney

Local Trial & Defense Counsel

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former Federal Prosecutor

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (OIG)

Michael Koslow
Michael Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Chris Quick
Chris Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Kevin M. Sheridan
Kevin M. Sheridan

Former Special Agent (FBI)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Dennis A. Wichern
Dennis A. Wichern

Former Special Agent-in-Charge (DEA)

The Need for AML Policies for Blockchain and Crypto Companies

Cryptocurrencies are a recent phenomenon that are not going away any time soon. Online crypto exchanges and ICOs have quickly become mainstream as important financial systems and instruments.

In addition to the curiosity of investors and financial innovators, cryptocurrencies have attracted the attention of cyber criminals. Criminals are using crypto exchanges and cryptocurrencies because many exchanges offer anonymity, and these criminals can transfer cryptos from around the world.

Cyber criminals are also taking advantage of the regulatory gaps in the law regarding blockchain and cryptocurrencies as well as exploiting weakness. For instance, cyber criminals continue to exploit America’s opioid crisis and the global coronavirus pandemic as well as use public fear to their advantage when devising fraudulent schemes involving cryptocurrencies.

Crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing are among the top risks associated with cryptocurrencies. Criminals are using blockchain technology to facilitate their criminal operations—even going the extra step to use mixers for money laundering, which are used to further conceal the true source of the coins by mixing up the coins across multiple wallets to be “cleaned” and then moved around again to other wallets.

This increases the anonymity of the criminal transaction and makes it practically impossible to trace the traction back to its source. For this reason, AML compliance is critical for businesses.

Despite the lack of consistent regulation, federal agencies remain wary of companies using blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies as well as companies and individuals issuing new tokens or coins in initial coin offerings (“ICOs”).

Crypto exchanges process millions of dollars in individuals’ money. In 2019 alone, crypto exchanges suffered multiple cyber-attacks, including over $292 million stolen and over 500,000 customer data records stolen.

Maintaining a comprehensive AML compliance program that specifically outlines how the entity plans to safeguard their operations from the money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with cryptocurrencies is the best defense.

Further, not only must a compliance program be implemented, but federal regulators will also examine whether the program is operating effectively and working in practice. This is a fact-sensitive inquiry and depends on the individual’s industry sector and particular business operations.

Crypto, the Financial Industry, and AML Requirements

As cryptocurrencies continue to increase in popularity, federal agencies are demanding robust compliance programs—focusing especially on AML/KYC policies and procedures.

FinCEN requires crypto companies—very likely categorized as financial institutions—to design and implement AML compliance programs and ensure that these programs are operating effectively.

Crypto companies must comply with both the Bank Secrecy Act’s (“BSA”) and the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.

Because crypto exchanges handle significant amounts of money for customers, many crypto exchanges and crypto-related businesses also risk being treated as money service businesses (“MSBs”).

Companies that are deemed MSBs must follow various AML requirements including customer due diligence procedures and suspicious activity reporting.

Other reporting and disclosure obligations could apply when the crypto business deals with securities and issuers, brokers and dealers (SEC) and commodities markets and financial derivatives (CFTC).

Failure to follow through on federal requirements—most notably those on AML measures—can lead to significant fines and penalties.

In 2020, crypto exchanges Helix and Coin Ninja were fined $60 million for acting as “mixers” or “tumblers” for virtual currencies, which involved engaging in activities that accept and then transmit cryptos in a way that prevents the tracing the funds back to their original source. These exchanges had also failed to maintain effective AML programs and failed to conduct proper due diligence on its customers.

AML Matters We Can Help You With

Hiring a law firm with a keen understanding of AML matters—especially how they are applicable to crypto and blockchain-related companies—is critical.

This is especially important since crypto operations often transcend international borders. Transactions can be transferred around the world in a matter of seconds, and ICOs can appeal to investors in virtually any country.

For this reason, your attorney needs to understand not only the context of your business including customers but also jurisdictional issues.

At Oberheiden, P.C., our firm is prepared and eager to assist you and your business with the following AML matters:

  • Designing and implementing AML compliance programs tailored to the particular needs of your industry and business;
  • Reviewing customer identification and verification procedures;
  • Monitoring high-risk transactions and implementing mitigation procedures;
  • Analyzing the legal, regulatory, and compliance environments of your business, including a comprehensive risk assessment;
  • Advising on the applicability of current U.S. law to your crypto business;
  • Drafting AML and KYC policies and procedures;
  • Ensuring that your business adopts and effectively uses a risk-based system;
  • Understanding and advising upon customer due diligence procedures, account monitoring, and suspicious activity reporting within your business;
  • Implementing effective annual training programs for your employees;
  • Performing media and marketing screenings for compliance weaknesses; and
  • Analyzing public records and information for beneficial ownership of businesses.

The above are just a few examples of the AML measures we can assist your company with. If you have questions on the above issues or another AML issue as it applies to cryptocurrencies, do not wait to give us a call today.

Need Advice on Blockchain and Crypto AML Issues?

Money laundering risks are inherent in crypto-related businesses. Transactions are practically anonymous, customer verification is extremely difficult, and ongoing monitoring is a challenge.

Further, U.S. crypto regulations are inconsistent and ill-defined. Many gaps in the system continue to be utilized and exploited by cyber criminals.

That said, federal agencies have taken a keen interest in businesses and individuals involved with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Federal agencies have even initiated federal investigations into companies who have failed to implement strong AML measures and have therefore allowed fraud and crime to occur within their businesses. Companies and individuals can face significant fines in these circumstances.

It is important to stay one step ahead of federal regulators, especially when it comes to cryptocurrencies. We can help you do that.

At Oberheiden, P.C., our team of attorneys and consultants will work with you to develop and implement comprehensive AML compliance programs across your business operations.

We have an intricate understanding of the current federal regulatory reaction to cryptocurrencies and make it a priority to stay abreast of upcoming laws and regulations affecting crypto companies.

Do not wait for a federal agency to investigate your business for insufficient AML measures. Get the advice and assurances you need today.

Call or contact us online today for a free consultation to protect your business.

Why Clients Trust Oberheiden P.C.

  • 1,000+ Cases Handled
  • Available Nights & Weekends
  • Experienced Trial Attorneys
  • Former Department of Justice Trial Attorneys
  • Former Federal Prosecutors, U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Former Agents from FBI, OIG, DEA
  • Cases Handled in 48 States
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