WASHINGTON - In its first crackdown on foreign bank account dis- closure, the government has assessed civil money penalties against a food- import company.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network collected $30,000 from Eastimpex Inc., San Francisco, which had accounts with European and Asian banks.
Under the Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. companies with a financial interest in, or control over, a bank account located in a foreign country must report accounts over $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. These reports are due by June 30 each year.
Fincen, an arm of the Treasury Department, enforces the law.
Although Fincen said it has no evidence of criminal activity by Eastimpex, it said the penalty was issued to underscore the importance of filing such reports.
"Compliance with reporting requirements is a key element in the government's efforts to detect money laundering and other financial crimes," said Stanley E. Morris, director of Fincen.
Charles Intriago, the Miami publisher of the newsletter Money Laundering Alert, said this report, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, has been ignored by the government, until now.
"The report is a major untapped source of information that the government could use to trace dirty money," he said.
Separately, Fincen announced a civil money penalty under the Bank Secrecy Act against a casino. The Sands Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, paid $61,500 for not reporting currency transactions to the IRS