CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia investigators and prosecutors played a key role in the prosecution of giant British bank HSBC, the U.S. Attorney for the state's Northern District said Wednesday.
William J. Ihlenfeld II praised the efforts of four federal investigators based in the Mountain State who he said helped uncover the inadequacy of HSBC's anti-money laundering program.
"Their efforts played a key role in the resolution of this case and helped to bring an end to illegal activity that was occurring in the United States and around the world," Ihlenfeld said.
The four people cited by Ihlenfeld were Bryant Moravek, a special agent for the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; Ryan Korner and Jason Gandee, special agents for the IRS Criminal Investigation Section; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Stein, based in Charleston.
"Without the dedication and commitment of these men, HSBC's violations would have continued unabated long into the future," Ihlenfeld said.
The West Virginia investigation was first triggered by the activities of Dr. Barton Adams, a physician who laundered more than $2 million through HSBC as part of a health-care fraud scheme.
Last month, Adams was convicted on federal charges of health-care fraud and tax evasion in federal court in Wheeling.
Adams faces up to 15 years in federal prison. His wife, convicted on similar charges last year, also faces a federal prison sentence.
HSBC agreed Tuesday to pay $1.9 billion in fines, the largest penalty ever imposed on a bank. Authorities said the bank helped Iran, Libya, Mexican drug traffickers and others under U.S. sanctions to move money around the world.
No bank executives were charged, and critics of the deal said it raised questions about how willing U.S. authorities are to hold huge financial institutions accountable for their misdeeds. Prosecutors said the damage that indicting the bank might cause, including thousands of people who could lose their jobs if the bank collapsed, was a factor in not indicting the bank.