Grocers Beware: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) May Be on the Way to Your Store

The Bank Secrecy Act is enforced by FinCEN with assistance by the Internal Revenue Service. This purpose is to prevent money laundering which is a mechanism to assist in the concealment of the source of illegal income.  The Bank Secrecy Act applies to money service businesses (MSB), under which, in many cases, a grocery store qualifies.  An MSB is any business that offers traveler’s checks, money orders, check cashing, currency dealing or exchanges, or the sale of stored value cards.  There are quite a few regulations to determine registration requirements if you are an MSB.  There approximately 8 requirements that include, the registration with FinCEN, adopting a money laundering compliance program, obtaining and issuing suspicious activity reports, filing currency transaction reports, maintaining the monetary instrument log, and other rules relating to wire transfers. 


Civil penalties are outrageously high which includes penalties of over $500 per day for negligent violations with up to penalties of $25,000 for willful violations.  Further, criminal penalties are imposed for willful violations of the law. 


Lavelle Law has recently represented independent grocers through a FinCEN audit and understands the law as well as the audit process.  We are holding a webinar to educate all independent grocers on this topic on Wednesday, November 28th at 11:00 a.m.  Please call our office at (847) 705-7555 and ask for Jamie to register for the webinar and to receive your program materials. 


In the meantime, if you have any questions on this or any other grocery store related matter, please do not hesitate to contact us at anytime.