The Federal Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 said that federal agencies could adjust their penalties (i.e. the statutory maximum values) every three years. Problem is, few agencies, if any, updated their figures. The Federal Register notice from FinCEN documents how, depending on the statute, the civil monetary penalties were last updated as recently as 2004, and as long ago as 1986.
The Federal Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Enhancement Act of 2015 specified that all penalties were supposed to be updated by July 1. As of June 30, OFAC has not issued any notice of adjustment, but at least FinCEN issued a table of existing and new penalty amounts. For example, recordkeeping violations for funds transfers almost doubled from $10,000 to $19.787, while the range of civil monetary penalties for willful Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations leapt from $25-100,000 to $53,907-215,628.
Here’s the thing: if you don’t index penalties for inflation, their value and, therefore, their deterrence capability, decreases over time – which is the exact opposite thing that a regulator wants. Hopefully, regulators will keep on top of these – some of those adjustment