The USA PATRIOT Act, signed by President Bush in 2001, is designed to detect, deter, and punish terrorists in the United States and abroad. The Act imposes new anti-money laundering requirements on brokerage firms and financial institutions. By April 24, 2002, all brokerage firms were required to have new, comprehensive anti-money laundering programs.
To help you understand these efforts, we want to provide you with some information about money laundering and our steps to implement the USA PATRIOT Act.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegally obtained money so that the funds appear to come from legitimate sources or activities. Money laundering occurs in connection with a wide variety of crimes, including illegal arms sales, drug trafficking, robbery, fraud, racketeering, and terrorism.
How big is the problem and why is it important?
The use of the U.S. financial system by criminals to facilitate terrorism or other crimes could well taint our financial markets. According to the U.S. State Department, one recent estimate puts the amount of worldwide money laundering activity at $1 trillion a year.