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U.S. prosecutors dismiss criminal charges against North Carolina bank

Charges arising from a suspected Ponzi scheme dropped

In 2011, a new bank, CommunityOne, was formed in North Carolina, via a combination of other banks, and amid just a bit of controversy.

At the time, there were stipulations for the merger. The banks were required to resolve a claim made by federal prosecutors arising from a 2010 subpoena of one of its customers, who was subsequently convicted of running a Ponzi scheme.

The bank was required to pay $400,000 in restitution to the victims of the scheme, and was slapped with a criminal charging document requiring it to implement an anti-money laundering compliance plan.

Now, after a motion filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District under the terms of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the bank as part of its recapitalization in 2011, the criminal charges were dropped and the Deferred Prosecution Agreement was terminated.

"We are very pleased that the case has been dismissed and the Deferred Prosecution Agreement terminated," said Brian Simpson, Chief Executive Officer of CommunityOne, in a statement. "The U.S. Attorney's action was a recognition of our full compliance with the DPA and our efforts over the past two years to enhance our Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering programs. These efforts will continue as we also continue to serve our customers in our markets."

This case marks yet another case regarding money laundering in recent months. The Sands Casino in Las Vegas faced charges that is had taken part in a money laundering scheme tied to one of its high rollers. Also, a federal judge approved a $1.25 billion deferred prosecution agreement with HSBC regarding violations of federal anti-money laundering sanctions. 

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