WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference after he helped secure the inclusion of historic, comprehensive anti-money laundering and corporate transparency reforms into the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), approved by the House last night by an overwhelming 335-78 veto-proof majority, and expected to be voted on in the coming days in the Senate.

“We know criminals abuse the U.S. financial system to launder money from drug trafficking, organized crime, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, weapons sales, and human trafficking – this bill will help us get ahead of them, and stay ahead of them.,” said Brown. “We need to give law enforcement new, modern tools to stop these criminals and put an end to the abuse of anonymous shell companies.”

Brown was joined on today’s call by Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, who discussed the importance of these provisions as Ohio law enforcement works to combat human trafficking and drug trafficking throughout the state.

"We in law enforcement appreciate emphasis being placed on money laundering as we know more citizens are being victimized by human traffickers, drug traffickers, and violence.  We must be aggressive in safeguarding our citizens who are being preyed on,” said Tharp.

The comprehensive bipartisan legislation Brown helped secure would:

·       Update and Strengthen U.S. Anti-Money Laundering laws by closing existing gaps that have allowed criminals, corrupt foreign officials of other governments and others to exploit our nation’s financial system, threaten regional and global stability, and endanger U.S. national security. 

·       End Anonymous Shell Companies by updating laws that have made it too easy for terrorists, money launderers and drug traffickers to operate using anonymous shell companies, and for corrupt foreign officials to drain wealth from their own countries, hide illicit funds in the U.S., and profit from our large and comparatively stable economy.

·       Require Improved Feedback from Law Enforcement and more routine coordination, communication and feedback between financial institutions, regulators, and law enforcement to identify, track and crack down on suspicious financial activities, better focusing bank resources and improving outcomes for law enforcement.

·       Crack Down on Serious Bank Violators by providing for new penalties on bankers convicted of serious money laundering violations, including a ban on board service and disgorgement of bonuses paid during the violation period, on top of any fines imposed.

Media can read more about the provision Brown helped secure HERE.

Brown also announced other key Ohio wins in the NDAA this week, including investments for Lima’s JSMC, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, as well as help for veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.