Defendant Pleads Guilty to Bank Secrecy Act Charges
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Hanan Ofer Facilitated More than $1 Billion in High-Risk Transactions Without Required Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Hanan Ofer pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, as part of a scheme to bring lucrative and high-risk international financial business to a small, unsophisticated credit union. Today’s proceeding took place before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr. When sentenced, Ofer faces up to 10 years in prison.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kenneth Polite Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Rick J. Patel, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), announced the guilty plea.
“Ofer willfully disregarded provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act that are designed to prevent money laundering and the use of our financial system for criminal ends. This Office will vigorously enforce those laws to ensure the integrity of the U.S. financial system,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “With his admissions today, the defendant will be held responsible for exposing financial institutions to the risk of illicit activity.”
“Ofer’s failure to implement anti-money laundering practices as required by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) exposed Financial Institutions to the likelihood of high-risk transactions which ultimately led to the processing of billions in bulk cash from Mexican-based banks without proper oversight,” stated HSI Acting Special Agent-in- Charge Patel. “Money laundering is a vital component of transnational criminal organizations wishing to legitimize their ill-gotten gains and ensuring the compliance of BSA regulations is the first step to fighting these organizations. HSI is a leader in financial crimes investigations and will continue to seek the prosecution of those who attempt to circumvent the law for quick financial gains.”
According to court filings, from 2014 to 2016, Ofer operated the New York State Employees Federal Credit Union Services Organization (NYSEFCU-CUSO), a money services business that was required to have an effective anti-money laundering program. Through the NYSEFCU-CUSO and other entities, Ofer participated in a scheme that brought over $1 billion in high-risk transactions, including millions of dollars of bulk cash transactions from a Mexican bank, to the New York State Employees Federal Credit Union (NYSEFCU).
Ofer was experienced in international banking and trained in anti-money laundering compliance and procedures, and represented to the NYSEFCU that he and the NYSEFCU-CUSO would conduct appropriate anti-money laundering oversight as required by the Bank Secrecy Act. Instead, Ofer failed to implement an effective anti-money laundering program at the NYSEFCU-CUSO. This failure caused the NYSEFCU to process high-risk transactions, including from Mexican banks, without appropriate oversight and without ever filing a single Suspicious Activity Report, as required by law.
In July 2022, Mr. Peace was selected as the Chairperson of the White Collar Fraud subcommittee for the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC). As the leader of the subcommittee, Mr. Peace will play a key role in making recommendations to the AGAC to facilitate the prevention, investigation and prosecution of various financially motivated, non-violent crimes including mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, health care fraud, tax fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and identity theft.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section, in coordination with the Office’s Bank Integrity Task Force, which is charged with investigating and charging corporate and individual actors who launder criminal proceeds using the U.S. banking system and enforcing anti-money laundering controls under the Bank Secrecy Act. Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan C. Harris and Francisco J. Navarro of the Eastern District of New York are prosecuting the case with Trial Attorneys Margaret Moeser and Leigh Kessler of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section. The investigation is being conducted by HSI’s El Dorado Task Force in New York.
New York, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-174 (DG)
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office
Updated April 19, 2023