Ocean Bank to pay millions for federal violations

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Miami-based Ocean Bank would pay between $10 million and $15 million in the next month under a pending agreement with the U.S. government for Bank Secrecy Act violations, an online financial newsletter reported late Tuesday citing sources familiar with the matter., which also is based in Miami, said that the $3.6 billion asset bank will pay the fine to the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. “for compliance weaknesses related to high-risk accounts and suspicious activity reports.”

The publication quoted sources saying the bank has been subject to a Justice Department inquiry “going on for at least two years.”

The bank signed a cease-and-desist order with the FDIC and state regulators in March 2007 agreeing to improve its anti-money laundering compliance.

“While we cannot comment on this third-party report, it should be noted that in cases where such steps have been taken, they typically are related to past actions and conduct, and not to current activities,” Ocean Bank spokesman Ray Casas said. “Ocean Bank has had ongoing discussions with regulators on its progress in meeting all the requirements of the cease & desist order the bank signed in 2007. We look forward to continuing those discussions and to a resolution of these issues. In any case, such an action would not affect the bank’s customers or the soundness of the institution.”

The Venezuelan-owned bank has several non-resident alien account holders from Venezuela and other Latin American countries, noted.

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