The DEA triumphantly announced last week that American Express Bank International American Express Bank International's customers (fixed for accuracy) will pay a $55 million fine because the bank hasn't taken sufficient steps to monitor its customers' behavior for signs of drug-related money laundering.
Among the measures the government expects your bank to take (and, ultimately, to charge you for):
Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks are required to establish and maintain an anti-money laundering compliance program that, at a minimum, provides for: (a) internal policies, procedures and controls designed to guard against money laundering; (b) the coordination and monitoring of day-to-day compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act; (c) an ongoing employee training program; and (d) independent testing for compliance conducted by bank personnel or an outside party. Banks are also required to have comprehensive anti-money laundering programs that enable them to identify and report suspicious financial transactions to the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
This is nothing new, of course. But it's always good to remember that in order to make it marginally more difficult for Americans to get high, not only are you footing the $1.9 billion bill it costs the DEA to raid homes, pay snitches, arrest doctors, spray poison across Latin America, and storm medical marijuana clinics each year, you also pay your bank to spy on your financial transactions on behalf of the U.S. government.
Thanks to Daniel Bear for the tip.