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2037. Civil Remedies -- Civil Penalties

Section 5321(a)(1) of Title 31 provides that domestic financial institutions and any partner, director, officer, or employee of a domestic financial institution who engages in a willful violation of the above provisions is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than the greater of the amount (not to exceed $100,000) involved in the transaction or $25,000. If a domestic financial institution fails to follow the compliance procedures required by the Act or the regulations, a separate violation occurs for each day the violation continues and at each office, branch, or place of business at which a violation occurs.

Section 5321(a)(2) of Title 31 also provides that the Secretary of the Treasury may impose additional civil penalties on a person who does not file a CMIR, or who files a CMIR containing a material omission or misstatement. The civil penalty can be levied for not more than the value of the monetary instrument for which the report was required, although such penalty must be reduced by any amount forfeited under 31 U.S.C. § 5317(b). This portion of the civil penalty provision can be very helpful when a large volume of currency is involved and criminal prosecution is not available.

Section 5321(b) of Title 31 authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to bring civil actions to collect civil penalties. Section 5321(c) provides authority for the Secretary of the Treasury to remit any part of a civil forfeiture or civil penalty imposed under § 5317(c) or § 5321(a)(2). This statute thereby provides a procedure to protect innocent third parties.

[cited in JM 9-79.200]

Updated January 17, 2020