5th Anniversary of Department of Homeland Security: Is the U.S. Financial System Any Safer?

NEW YORK, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five years after the Department of Homeland Security began operations, "there remain key vulnerabilities in the financial system from terrorists and other criminals," says financial crime expert Robert Binney of Fortent.

Officially opened on January 24, 2003 , the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) combined two dozen federal agencies and now employs more than 200,000 workers in its mission to coordinate security efforts at the national level, including protecting the U.S. financial infrastructure. As part of this mission, DHS has launched communications and training initiatives to fight cyberterrorism, money laundering, credit card fraud, and other threats.

"The good news about DHS is that, partly as a result of their efforts, banks and other financial institutions are now much more aware of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing," said Mr. Binney , Vice Chairman of Fortent, a risk and compliance solutions provider.

"However," he added, "while certain outlets for crime have been largely closed off by the DHS and other efforts, criminals are turning to other options to launder money and potentially fund terrorism."

"Criminals are opportunistic. They are now finding other channels to move money, whether it's shifting their funds abroad, structuring payments into small amounts, or using money service businesses -- MSBs -- here in the U.S. Last week's record-breaking, $25-million Justice Department settlement with an MSB in California showed that the government is taking a much closer look at these kinds of businesses," said Mr. Binney .

"Regional and smaller banks are also coming on board with very aggressive anti-money laundering programs, something that the big banks have had in place for a while," he remarked.

"Law enforcement, policy makers, and financial institutions still have work to do in terms of ensuring the security of our financial systems, and all financial firms are going to have to re-examine their internal procedures and systems to remain vigilant in detecting signs of potential criminal behavior."

If you would like to speak with Mr. Binney , please contact Suzanne Oaks or Davia Temin of Temin and Company at 212-588-8788 or news@teminandco.com.

About Fortent

Fortent provides risk and compliance solutions to financial institutions, government agencies, and individuals in more than 100 countries.

Endorsed by the American Bankers Association, Fortent's technology is used by the world's largest financial firms in over 50,000 locations worldwide. In addition to its advanced anti-money laundering, know your customer, and fraud detection systems, Fortent serves as an authoritative source of regulatory information, news, and guidance, offering the industry's leading professional certification program and conferences throughout the world.

SOURCE Fortent