WASHINGTON – Sigue Corp. will pay $15 million to Uncle Sam as part of a deferred prosecution agreement on federal charges of failing to maintain an effective money laundering program. Sigue, based in San Fernando, Calif., also will spend $9.7 million to improve its anti-money laundering program.
“When companies like Sigue comply with anti-money laundering laws and employ strong oversight, they can play a pivotal role in stemming illicit money laundering activity,” said Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher. “Unfortunately, when they are not compliant the opposite is true and criminals benefit. While we are pleased that Sigue has accepted responsibility in this case, their conduct was serious and the penalty is both appropriate and necessary.”
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network also assessed a $12 million civil penalty against Sigue, which will be satisfied by the $15 million forfeiture.
Sigue operates more than 7,000 money remitter agents across the country. The charges were based on more than $24.7 million in suspicious transactions Sigue processed from November 2003 to March 2005, including transactions by undercover federal agents using money represented as proceeds of drug trafficking.
Prosecutors said Sigue failed to create systems and procedures to identify suspicious financial transactions being conducted by related senders and beneficiaries, from the same or multiple remitter agent locations on the same day, or over several days, months and years.