Financial institutions facing ever-increasing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) scrutiny and enforcement have a new resource to help them keep pace: Money Laundering Watch, a blog by Ballard Spahr attorneys who cover the latest developments in regulation, compliance, and policy—and provide analysis to put it all in context.

The scope of U.S. and international initiatives to prevent and detect money laundering, fraud, and the financing of terrorism is expanding. Money Laundering Watch draws on our attorneys' collective experience on the front lines of industry, government, and private practice. They track and report on compliance and enforcement trends, federal and state actions, regulatory developments, significant cases, and international efforts. Visit www.moneylaunderingwatchblog.com for more information about the blog and the attorneys who write it, and to subscribe.

Nearly a dozen federal agencies regulate AML efforts. Financial institutions are required to develop policies, procedures, and controls to identify potential money laundering, fraud, trade embargo violations, tax evasion, and other criminal activity—and to report suspicious activity to the government.

Penalties for noncompliance range from fines, forfeitures, and indictments to the loss of reputation, stock value, and licenses to do business. Industries affected include banks, broker/dealers, casinos, residential mortgage lenders, prepaid account providers, and money transmitters. Individual executives, owners, and other professionals can also come under scrutiny.

"The array of enforcement agencies and requirements can be daunting, and the stakes are high," said Peter D. Hardy, a blogger and partner in Ballard Spahr's White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations Group. "With Money Laundering Watch, we keep our finger on the pulse of this critical area so we can provide the latest information to help affected industries and individuals navigate the maze of regulations and requirements."

Money Laundering Watch bloggers are attorneys who represent financial institutions, ranging from global banks to smaller enterprises and internet-based providers. They help clients establish and refine AML procedures, advise on customer identification and due diligence, handle government exam preparation and response, conduct internal investigations, and respond to enforcement actions. They also represent individuals caught up in money laundering and monetary reporting investigations and litigation.