Greater St. Louis Chapter: Gateway to the West

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The ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter is proud to support its community through learning and networking events. Did you know that St. Louis ranks 13th in the U.S. as one of the headquarters for Fortune 500 companies and that St. Louis is also the base for the Eighth Federal Reserve District Bank and several national insurance and brokerage firms? Missouri is the only state with two Federal Reserve Banks (Kansas City and St. Louis) and it is home to the regional headquarters of major banks and brokerage firms including Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, Edward Jones, Wells Fargo, Regions Bank as well as the headquarters for Commerce Bank, Central Bank, Enterprise Bank & Trust and UMB Bank.

Members of the chapter come from a variety of industries including banking, brokerage, casinos, consulting, fintech and payments. With all this financial knowledge in the community, the chapter proudly supports its members through roundtable discussions, learning events and excellent networking opportunities. Outreach focuses on current trends and typologies associated with anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud. As a growing chapter, the ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter has seen an 167% increase in membership since 2018. The board members engage with participants at each event by asking them for feedback on topics that are impactful in their field and how the local chapter can support them in their professional growth.

Collaboration between like-minded individuals is key to the success of the chapter’s members. In February 2020, the chapter collaborated with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) Greater St. Louis Area Chapter to host a joint learning event that filled the conference center at Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri. This event was sponsored by Regulatory DataCorp (RDC). The topics presented were on human trafficking and corresponding suspicious activity report statistics. Guest speakers included Josh Morrill, from the St. Louis Division of the FBI, and Dan Nash, from the Interdiction for the Protection of Children/Human Trafficking Unit of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. At the event, participants learned about patterns of moving money, the skills to recognize both victims and perpetrators along with the importance of information sharing within the industry and with law enforcement.

The joint event brought record-breaking attendance of AML and fraud professionals. A networking happy hour was held after the event to allow participants to share their experiences and learn about how other financial companies were responding to regulatory changes of current events. Sharing the experiences and knowledge between members has been well-received and has boosted membership in each organization’s chapter as members seek to grow their careers in the financial sector.

In July 2020, the ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter hosted its first of several virtual learning events to discuss the risks associated with the Paycheck Protection Program in the wake of COVID-19. The guest speakers included Jim Richards, founder and principal of RegTech Consulting LLC, and Eric Goldberg, partner at Akerman LLP as well as former managing counsel for regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In October and November 2020, two more great virtual events were held. The first was presented by Liz Fraccaro, project director for the Financial Crimes Task Force of the Antiquities Coalition. Fraccaro shared her knowledge and experience as a trained archaeologist and lawyer from the lesser-known world of financial crime in ancient artifacts. The American art market is over $28 billion,1 and it is the largest unregulated market in the world. She provided risks facing the American art market including money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions violations, tax evasion, fraud, forgery and other related crimes. In November, the chapter members learned valuable insights into elder financial exploitation. Paul Greenwood, a retired deputy from the District Attorney’s Office of San Diego, discussed his time as a former criminal prosecutor and head of elder abuse prosecution. He outlined the current landscape of elder financial exploitation and how to recognize the new ways criminals gain access to seniors’ life savings. Greenwood shared examples on how to monitor transactions for potential changes in their financial accounts since this generation is typically more trusting and less able or willing to self-report the victimization.

In keeping up with current events in February 2021, Steve Kemmerling, founder and CEO of CRB Monitor, held a virtual presentation for chapter members on the significant challenges around cannabis and banking. During this event, he presented insight on the differences between hemp, CBD and cannabis. He discussed regulatory guidance on providing financial services to such entities. This discussion was timely, given the ever-changing regulatory landscape of the cannabis industry. The information provided helped members understand the potential risk of engaging in business with such entities.

In April 2021, the ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter hosted a virtual event on AML risks and typologies associated with human trafficking and the exploitation of children. The first guest speaker was Monica Dean, an Emmy-winning anchor and reporter for NBC 7 San Diego, who shared information from her investigation on sex trafficking of children in San Diego. The second guest speaker was April Riel, certified public accountant and forensic accountant assigned to the FBI’s Human Trafficking Squad in the San Diego Field Office, who provided additional insights into the financial and AML red flags associated with human trafficking.

On July 15, 2021, the ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter is hosting a virtual event on open source intelligence techniques and how to utilize them to conduct effective AML investigations. The guest speaker, Ryan Duquette, will share safety measures that should be taken by investigators to protect themselves from being discovered by the individual whom they are investigating. Duquette is the partner and Canadian lead for RSM Canada’s Security and Privacy Risk Consulting and has been an investigator for over 20 years. He was previously a police officer focusing on cybercrime and fraud cases. Duquette works closely with clients involved in workplace investigations and civil litigation matters including intellectual property theft, human resources investigations and data breaches.

The ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter is passionate about the mission to develop and empower AML and fraud professionals. The chapter provides their members with opportunities to keep up to date on current industry trends and through roundtable discussions, the chapter provides guidance on steps that can be taken to mitigate risk for each member’s respective firms. The board of the ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter has worked diligently to provide the appropriate level of learning and networking opportunities with a wide range of topics, speakers and locations that suit the geographic membership and potential members.

The ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter welcomes readers to join and attend future events!

ACAMS Greater St. Louis Chapter

  1. “Financial Crimes Task Force,” Antiquities Coalition, https://link.zixcentral.com/u/74474a4f/Yqouzny56x Gi8MvSgNRvyg?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftheantiquitiescoalition.org%2Fdeveloping-implementing-solutions%2Ffinancial-crimes-task-force%2F (accessed Mar. 20, 2021).

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