San Diego's Merrill Lynch whacked

Securities commission identifies suspicious transactions, halts operations

The mammoth brokerage Merrill Lynch, a unit of Bank of America, was slapped yesterday (December 21) with several charges of money laundering by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm was given cease-and-desist orders by the regulator.

The only office that I could find cited in the 11-page report is one in San Diego.

The SEC notes that a registered broker-dealer is required to file a suspicious activity report on a transaction or pattern of transactions of at least $5000 that the broker knows or suspects involves funds from illegal activities, is designed to evade money laundering requirements, and has no business or lawful purpose. In a number of instances, Merrill failed to file such reports, says the SEC.

The firm sent its employees a report on what to look for, among them, "wires originating from jurisdictions which had been flagged in relation to black market peso exchange activities" and "many funds transfers sent in large, round dollar amounts." Merrill had used a system called "Mantas" for the automated monitoring of retail brokerage accounts "to detect potential money laundering activity," according to the report. But Merrill failed to use Mantas in two high-risk scenarios, and did not investigate certain Mantas reports.

On page 7 of the SEC's cease-and-desist order is the headline, "MERRILL LYNCH DID NOT FILE CERTAIN SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY REPORTS." Below are these words: "As a result of the deficiencies in the [anti-money laundering] policies and procedures identified above, Merrill Lynch failed to file [suspicious activity reports] on suspicious movement of funds through its accounts. For example, from January 1, 2009, to July 1, 2015, in just one Merrill Lynch branch office in San Diego, Calfiornia, which principally served non-U.S. resident customers, Merrill Lynch failed to file [suspicious activity reports] on numerous suspicious money movements."

The SEC goes on to say that suspicious accounts at the San Diego branch included "patterns of large currency deposits through [automatic teller machines] where there were no apparent [indications] of business operations," and "accounts that engaged in complicated movements of large, even-dollar-denominated funds."

The SEC report does not mention any possibility of drug money laundering through the San Diego branch, or any branch.

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More mischief from our local white-collar criminal overclass. From the dates, it looks like this is a leftover investigation from the Obama Admin. I'm sure it won't be long before 45 rescinds the order as "overreach" and the graft can continue.

Cassander: I don't know that this is left over from Obama, even though the dates are from years ago. Many charges are for four and five years in the past.

I agree: Trump would look silly going after somebody for money laundering, but what is pathetic is that he wouldn't know that he looked silly. Best, Don Bauder

We had a mayor who got mixed up with the investment types a while back. I remember his face turning colors during a cross examination by Deputy D.A. Huffman when he was caught in an obvious lie and couldn't squirm out of it. And now he's suing the city to replace his wife's breasts.

Merrill Lynch involved in financial shenanigans with a foreign national? No problem in San Diego, just ask her highness, our former D.A. who probably knew some of the principals from a fund raiser. The irony is she's a Republican and it is the Democratic Party which was taken over by investment bankers. Go figure.

We, the taxpayers of the City of San Diego, are already paying for Hedgecock’s wife’s breasts. https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/City-to-Pay-Ex-Mayors-Wife-85K-for-Sidewalk-Fall-That-Ruptured-Breast-Implant-462441743.html To the cool tune of $85,000.00 bucks. That a lot of bucks for boobs, whether they were on a jury panel or on someone’s chest.

Most people who trip and fall put their hands out in front of them and don't use their inflated chests to cushion the fall. Those must have been some airbags!

AlexClarke: I agree with you, but poisonous chemicals got into her system. It wasn't just that the boobs burst. Best, Don Bauder

AlexClarke: I guess she didn't stick her hands out to break the fall. Maybe she was carrying a package or a heavy purse. Best, Don Bauder

JustWondering: Poisons went into her system. Best, Don Bauder

shamus: But that mayor is not in the same liar league with the current president.

Just name one of the biggest banks worldwide and tell me it hasn't been involved with money laundering. I just bought some CDs of HSBC. Crooks. But I went ahead, relying on insurance. Best, Don Bauder

Poison to your body is the risk to yourself you take. When you choose to get augmentation surgery the implant is supposed to be replaced every 10 years because it weakens. Pretty sure.

shirleyberan: I wrote an item on the Hedgecock case -- perhaps one of the first, or the first -- but I did not read all the details. Also, I didn't follow it after the suit was filed. Best, Don Bauder

Now I'm wondering how much money did Rodger think he would get out of this "accident"? (She changed the location where it allegedly happened, wtf?) But at the least, his wife was going to look perkier. Scammy, why not, everybody else does.

shirleyberan: As I said, I did not follow the case after my first item. Best, Don Bauder

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