Anti-Money Laundering

Our anti-money laundering team keeps pace with the continued growth and innovation in financial services, payments, and cross-border transactions, always guiding our clients through the necessary compliance with both U.S. and international anti-money laundering laws as well as industry best practices.

Venable's anti-money laundering (AML) team helps financial institutions—banks, credit unions, broker-dealers, securities firms, casinos, money services businesses, and fintech companies—and their clients manage the requirements and challenges of AML compliance with comprehensive yet practical legal advice.

Our attorneys help clients navigate the AML regulatory framework, which includes representing clients in matters involving the Department of Treasury (DOT), Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal banking agencies, U.S. attorneys' offices, and state financial regulators. Our knowledge in this area is based on decades of experience representing clients across the financial services industry, as well as our prior experience working as government lawyers for many of these regulatory authorities. In these roles, we have helped shape the laws and regulations governing AML compliance, which in turn informs our approach to our clients' needs.

Our approach to AML counseling fits within our broader, 360-degree approach to helping financial institutions meet their legal and regulatory obligations while achieving their business goals. Venable's financial services practice team works in close collaboration with the more than 80 legal professionals in the firm's other regulatory practice areas, including privacy and data security, corporate, white collar defense, government affairs, and other teams across the firm. This allows us to provide tailored AML guidance that fits within our client's broader legal and business needs.

Regulatory Compliance and Examinations

We counsel clients on the full spectrum of laws and regulations that impact AML compliance, including the Bank Secrecy Act, USA PATRIOT Act, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) regulations, economic sanctions and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations, and state AML requirements. Our attorneys routinely work with counsel outside the U.S. to ensure compliance with the AML laws in every country where our clients conduct business.

We assist clients in designing AML compliance programs, policies, and procedures; conducting compliance audits; and providing training on Customer Identification Programs (CIPs), customer due diligence (Know Your Customer), Suspicious Activities Reports (SARs), Bank Secrecy Act reporting, OFAC control list compliance, and managing information requests from government and law enforcement authorities. In this area, we work closely with financial institutions on day-to-day compliance questions, addressing matters requiring attention, and resolving formal and informal enforcement actions. We also assist in preparing clients for state and federal regulatory examinations, including those by

  • Federal Reserve Board (FRB)
  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

We counsel on all types of payments and payment mechanisms, and legal and regulatory requirements, including cash and monetary instruments, sales and issuance of prepaid products, gift and credit cards, automated clearinghouse payments, money service businesses, and cross-border payments. We help with service contracts—both domestic and foreign—customer identification requirements, privacy, emerging tax reporting requirements like the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and the application of regulatory standards to specific financial product designs, agreements, and transactions. We also assist in the implementation of technical solutions for transaction monitoring and suspicious activity detection.

Due Diligence, and Governmental and Internal Investigations

Venable has extensive experience conducting sensitive due diligence investigations on high-risk clients and business sectors and clients in high-risk countries. We routinely advise clients in law enforcement and regulatory inquiries and handle enforcement matters in the United States and around the world.

As the financial industry continues to evolve, we are increasingly working with traditional financial institutions to implement and integrate services provided by fintech and regtech firms. At the same time, we assist emerging fintech and regtech companies in the design of products that provide value to traditional financial institutions while meeting regulatory requirements.

In the area of foreign investment in the U.S., we counsel clients on the laws administered by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), conduct CFIUS compliance examinations, and prepare, submit, and defend applications for approval of in-bound investment in financial institutions, and fintech and regtech companies. Our White Collar Defense and Government Investigations Group represents Fortune 500, midsized, and small companies and their executives in all phases of civil and criminal investigations by federal and state agencies. Our lawyers work on matters involving money laundering, accounting irregularities, securities fraud, insider trading, and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and its counterparts in countries around the world.


Representative Matters

  • Provide routine legal counsel to numerous financial institutions (banks, credit unions, broker-dealers, money transmitters, payments companies, lenders, and casinos) on regulatory compliance, including the development and implementation of policies and procedures, application of such policies and procedures to new and existing products and services, and training of boards of directors and AML and other staff on compliance
  • Represented one of the largest broker-dealers in the country in responding to SEC and FINRA examinations and investigations, including assessment of internal policies and procedures and application to various products and services
  • Advised a leading broker-dealer on day-to-day AML compliance, including with respect to requirements for filing suspicious activity reports and cyber intrusions
  • Performed an AML review of a trust company and assisted with implementation of recommendations
  • Represent numerous financial institutions in managing federal and state examinations, including responding to document and informational requests, managing matters requiring attention, and negotiating closure or resolution of examinations and potential investigations
  • Assisted one of the largest non-bank financial institutions on developing a new AML compliance framework that included outsourced support of certain routine functions
  • Regularly advise payments companies and fintechs on regulatory and AML compliance matters relevant to a suite of payment and related financial services products, including money transmission, prepaid access, bill payment, and other, similar areas. Establish OFAC compliance procedures for financial institutions, including for some of the largest banks, non-banks, and merchants in the United States
  • Conducted an investigation for a special committee of the board of a large financial institution regarding allegations made in shareholder derivative suits that the bank did not have appropriate AML controls and procedures to prevent the laundering of money from Russia and other former Eastern Bloc countries
  • Successfully represented a former senior executive of a large financial institution in criminal, civil, and congressional investigations concerning Bank Secrecy Act / money laundering issues
  • Successfully represented a large non-bank financial institution in resolving an AML enforcement matter with a state financial services regulator
  • Represent a large bank in a federal criminal money laundering investigation
  • Represent a non-U.S. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) service bureau in the application of U.S. AML and OFAC rules
  • Represent a non-U.S. company found to be in a joint venture with entities placed on the OFAC list for AML reasons
  • Advised banks, credit unions, lenders, and payment companies in California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington on how to develop, launch, and manage AML programs for marijuana-related businesses (MRBs) that are consistent with federal guidance, state laws, and industry best practices

Government Experience

We draw on the knowledge of Venable attorneys who have prior experience as government regulators and federal prosecutors, including:

  • A former deputy assistant treasury secretary and general counsel to the Treasury Department
  • A former director of enforcement and compliance at the Office of Comptroller of the Currency
  • A former assistant general counsel of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  • A former assistant general counsel for Banking and Finance at the Department of the Treasury and later director of the Office of Thrift Supervision
  • Several former assistant United States attorneys and other federal prosecutors, including the head of the Money Laundering Task Force in the District of New Jersey


  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers
    • Best Law Firms, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2012 – 2020, 2022 - 2023
    • Law Firm of the Year, Criminal Law: White Collar Litigation, 2012
  • Chambers USA, 2016 (Venable attorneys selected for inclusion)
  • Legal 500, Financial Services: Regulatory, 2011 – 2023
  • Law360, FCPA Powerhouse, 2013
  • Main Justice, Distinguished Service Award, 2013 (Venable’s FCPA and Anti-Corruption Group received the award)