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Articles Tagged with Sterne Agee

Rabobank NA Admits to Anti-Money Laundering Deficiencies, Will Pay Nearly $369M

Rabobank National Association, a subsidiary of Rabobank UA (RABO), has pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy for obstructing the Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s examination of the bank while hiding that its anti-money laundering program had certain deficiencies. Now, the firm will pay almost $369M for not preventing illicit funds from going through the bank.

With its guilty plea, Rabobank is admitting that it conspired with a number of its ex-executives to try defrauding the US by “unlawfully impeding” the OCC’s efforts to regulate the California subsidiary, including obstruction of an OCC examination of the bank’s branches throughout the state. Rabobank acknowledged that because of deficiencies in its AML program, the bank made it possible for hundreds of millions of dollars from Mexico and other places to be deposited in its rural bank branches and then allowed to money to move via checks, wire transfers, and withdrawals. Federal regulators were not notified even though they should have been.

During a 2012 OCC examination, Rabobank executives purposely tried to “hide and minimize” its AML program deficiencies so as to avoid new sanctions. Rabobank was already sanctioned in ’06 and ’08 for failures that were “nearly identical” to the ones at issue now. Late last year, ex-Rabobank VP George Martin reached a deferred prosecution deal with the US government for aiding and abetting the bank in not having an AML program that met Bank Secrecy Act requirements.

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Deborah Kelley, an ex-Sterne Agee managing director and broker, has pleaded guilty to honest-services wire fraud and securities fraud. Kelley, admitted that she gave perks to former NY state pension fund manager Navnoor Kang in return for him directing trading business toward her firm. She could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. A second broker, Gregg Schonhorn, has already pleaded guilty to related criminal charges against him.

Kang, who was the portfolio manager of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, is accused of awarding the two brokers’ firms over $2B of business in return for drugs, strippers, vacations, and lavish jewelry.

As a result, contend prosecutors, the retirement fund’s domestic bond transactions to her firm went from $0 at the end of March 2014 to $179M in 2016. FTN Financial, which is where Schonhorn worked, ended up garnering $2.3B of business from working with the NY pension fund. The two brokers were paid 35-40% of the millions of dollars of commissions made by their brokerage firms.

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