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ACFCS Conference Spotlight: Event to tackle cyber risks, fraud trends, terror finance, and more

Thursday, August 17, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian Monroe
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By Brian Monroe
August 17, 2017

Criminals using darknet sites and virtual currency exchanges to sell drugs and launder money. Fraudsters using business email attacks, malware and ransomware to steal and lock systems. Regulators fining banks for failing to have staff with enough cumulative compliance knowledge and expertise.

Those are just some of the financial crime challenges the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) will tackle in its Sixth Annual Financial Crime Conference on October 16-17 in Boston, designed from the ground up to be the most relevant, valuable and holistic event focused on financial crime detection and prevention.

This year’s conference, wrapped around the theme “Stay Ahead of the Curve,” has more than 45 speakers, including top experts from regulatory bodies and government agencies, compliance officers and consultants helping bridge the gaps between all of the various stakeholders in the game.

Here is a look at some recent actions in the financial crime compliance field, and how the ACFCS 2017 Conference will address them:


Hackers recently stole key pieces of some of HBO’s crown jewel properties, using a musical score from fantasy epic “Game of Thrones” for dramatic effect, and requesting more than $7 million in Bitcoin. The hack against the media giant underscored the fact that all companies are at risk and some hacking groups see data as more valuable than simply grabbing someone’s credit card details. To read ACFCS coverage of the hack and a companion teaching piece, please click here.

Conference panel on that issue – Cybercrime and cybersecurity: A critical update

Description: Join us as the field’s preeminent experts describe life in the cybercrime and cyber security trenches today, emerging trends and related legal and compliance challenges in this fast paced and ever-changing sector. The panel will discuss all of the hot buttons today, including: State-sponsored attacks, ransomware, cybercrime risk assessments, and regulatory requirements.

Featured speaker: Barry Koch, the Former Counsel to the Investigation Division at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Formerly, he was Chief Compliance Officer at Western Union, where he led a global team of about 2,200 compliance professionals. A lawyer, he is a frequent speaker at diverse private and public-sector events, including those of the United States Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, State and Treasury.


Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury fined one of the world’s largest virtual currency exchanges $110 million for supporting illicit dark market sites, coaching criminals on how to access and launder money from ransomware fusillades, and shirking its financial crime compliance duties.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) penalized BTC-e, known as Canton Business Corporation, for a host of actions, including being the platform of choice for dark net sites selling drugs and other illicit services, facilitating payments for ransomware attacks and transferring funds stolen from other virtual currency exchanges.

In all, it had become a hub for the worst of the worst in internet thievery – from narco traffickers to identify thieves, corrupt political powerbrokers to fraudsters trying to turn Bitcoin payments into cash. The action was the first against a foreign cryptocurrency exchange and the second against a domestic exchange of virtual currency. To read ACFCS coverage of the action, please click here.

Conference panel on that issue – Trends and responses to emerging fraud threats

In the wide world of fraud, everything old is new again. Classic con-man skills are repurposed on social media to reach a wider audience, identity thieves continually adapt to countermeasures, and perennial techniques like Ponzi schemes have been revamped to exploit new technologies and payment systems like virtual currencies.

This leaves professionals with an ever-expanding network of fraud threats to confront. In this session, experts explore new fraud methodologies – and new twists on old ones – impacting diverse sectors, including securities, banking, government and more. They’ll also offer inside information on ways to stay ahead of the fraud curve, from training to transaction monitoring.

Featured speaker: Becki Laporte, the Vice President and AML Compliance Officer for Advisor Group, one of the largest networks of independent broker-dealers in the United States. Prior to Advisor Group, Becki served as an Associate Director and Lead Compliance Trainer for Finra, the largest independent regulator of the securities industry in the United States. 

ACFCS 2017 Financial Crime Conference, by the numbers:

More than 45 speakers, covering all areas of financial crime, including AML compliance, fraud, corruption and cybersecurity.

More than a dozen current or former regulators and law enforcement officials.

More than a dozen top compliance officers from many of the country’s largest banks.

More than two dozen panels, with breakout sessions, some being repeated to make sure you and your team can get the training you need on the issues you want, including compliance risks and examiner focal points, fintech and regtech, lone-wolf and small-scale terror financing, and more.

Conference topics include both emerging and persistent financial crime compliance program challenges and vulnerabilities, from customer onboarding to transaction monitoring, virtual currencies to AI and AML, and more.

Want to watch a webinar going through some of the key panels and topics? Click here and hit launch. 

Registration is now open and delegates can still take advantage of the early bird rateIn addition to a full roster of leading edge speakers, ACFCS 2017 also offers delegates 1.5 CFCS credits.  For more information visit

Terror Finance

With recent terror attacks in Spain, London, and other regions in the West, it’s more important than ever to drill down into transactional patterns that could be indicative of terror attack planning, or give clues to networks after an attack has occurred.

Small scale, lone wolf and home-grown terror attacks are some of the most challenging to uncover and predict because, in many cases, the funds come from legal origins and are moved in such small amounts, they do not trip bank transaction monitoring systems, meaning institutions must be both informed and creative to see the nuanced signs that could mean an attack is coming.

Conference panel on that issue – Lone wolf and small-scale terror attacks: Detecting and disrupting an evolving terrorist financing risk  

How is the Lone Wolf affecting how we detect and fight terrorist financing today? Even as ISIS loses territory and suffers military defeats, mainstay terrorist organizations continue to focus their efforts on cultivating and supporting individuals and small groups in “lone-wolf” terror attacks.

With radicalization possible through social media and online communications, ISIS is not the only extremist group to adopt such tactics. This session examines the financing of such individual and small-cell attacks, providing insight on the funding patterns and techniques connected to lone wolf attacks.

It also explores the very real challenges associated with detecting these types of attacks, and provides recommendations for areas of improvement in both the financial sector and law enforcement.

Featured speaker: Scott Rembrandt, the Assistant Director for Strategic Policy in the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a role he has served in since 2013. In his current position, he manages a team of policy advisors that develop and implement AML/CFT strategic initiatives and regulatory policies for a range of bank an non-bank businesses and individuals.

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