Anti Money Laundering (AML) in United States of America
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Money laundering in the United States of America (USA) is a serious problem. The primary source of laundered funds comes from the accessibility of the financial system. Trade-based money laundering is another method by which criminals have laundered funds in the USA.
Each year, between $500 billion and a trillion dollars of laundered money is generated through international banks and financial institutions. It is estimated that half of this laundered money is conducted through banks in the USA. In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the USA has taken advanced measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 amends the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) by requiring all financial institutions to establish Anti-Money Laundering (AML) programs. The Act is intended to strengthen the USA’s measures to prevent, detect, and prosecute money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The USA requires Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to be filed any time there is a large or suspicious transaction to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). FinCEN serves as the USA’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The USA’s financial institutions are also required to follow strict customer identification programs in order to verify the true identity of each customer and deter money laundering.
The Economy of the United States
Recently, the USA’s economy has been suffering, causing Congress to issue an economic stimulus plan to prevent the country from falling into a recession. Despite all of this, the USA still has the world’s largest and most technologically dominant economy.
In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, lay off surplus workers, and develop new products.
Imported oil accounts for about two-thirds of US consumption. Long-term economic issues include inadequate investment in the economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of the aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.
Banking in the United States
The Federal Reserve is the Central Bank of the USA, created in 1913. The main responsibilities of the Federal Reserve are maintaining monetary policy; ensuring the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system; maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets; and providing certain financial services to the US government, to the public, to financial institutions, and to foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation's payments systems.
The Federal Reserve is a federal system, composed of a central, governmental agency, known as the Board of Governors, located in Washington, D.C., and twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, located in major cities throughout the nation. As the nation's Central Bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the US Congress. It is considered an independent central bank since its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government.
The United States' Currency
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) issues the USA’s banknotes and also produces several other security documents such as portions of passports, materials for Homeland Security, military identification cards, and Immigration and Naturalization Certificates. The United States Mint issues all of the nation’s coinage and is in charge of distributing coins to the Federal Reserve banks and branches. The United States Department of Treasury is in charge of overseeing the production of both departments.
The United States Dollar (USD) is the currency in the USA and it is issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar bills. US coins are commonly issued in a one-cent piece (penny), five-cent piece (nickel), ten-cent piece (dime) and twenty-five cent piece (quarter). There are also fifty-cent pieces and one dollar pieces, but it is rare to see either.
Other Key Statistics of the United States
Time Zone: The US uses nine standard time zones. From east to west they are Atlantic Standard Time (AST), Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST), Pacific Standard Time (PST), Alaskan Standard Time (AKST), Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST), Samoa standard time (UTC-11) and Chamorro Standard Time (UTC+10).
Location: North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico.
Population: 320,206,000 (2015 estimate).
Capital: Washington, DC.
Languages Spoken: English is the official language and there is a large Spanish speaking population.