2015 Chapter of the Year

Northern California Chapter


Upcoming Events

Upcoming Northern California Chapter learning events will be announced soon.

2016 ACAMS Northern California Chapter Annual Newsletter

2017 ACAMS Northern California Chapter Annual Newsletter

The mission of the Northern California ACAMS Chapter is to support the goals of the International ACAMS organization to provide outstanding learning and training events and professional development opportunities, as well as support for its members’ needs in the AML industry.

The Chapter will strive to fulfill its mission by: educating and training AML professionals in private and government organizations regarding anti-money laundering and fraud detection specific to our area, such as technology related fields and our relations with Pacific Rim countries; bringing educational resources on an international level to our local area to reduce costs and save time for our members; and collaborating and networking with other local AML professionals to increase industry knowledge and job effectiveness from this interaction and exposure.

Twitter: ACAMSNorthernCA

LinkedIn: Northern California Chapter Group

Upcoming Northern California Chapter learning events will be announced soon.

Year-end Learning & Social Event

Dual Location Learning Event: Banking the Marijuana Industry

Please join us for our next learning event on experiences in banking the marijuana industry. Our speaker, Michael O’Neill, is an Operations & Compliance Executive with over 20 years of experience with specialization in bank operations and regulatory compliance for the community banking and credit union industries.

This event will be held at two separate locations on two different dates with the same speaker and content. Please see date and location details below. Please select the location you would like to attend during registration.


Michael O’Neill, Operations & Compliance Executive

Fifth Annual Learning Event on Emerging Payments and Technologies!


Law Enforcement Update

Learning Event: The Importance of SAR filings (NOCA)

Please join us for our next Sacramento area learning event. Hear from an IRS-CI Special Agent on the value SARs provide to law enforcement and the relationship between law enforcement and AML departments.

ACAMS Northern California Chapter Happy Hour

The Northern California Chapter invites ACAMS members and West Coast AML Forum attendees to join us for a Happy Hour Networking Social. We welcome all Chapter members and non-members to join us to meet and network with other AML professionals!

The Internet as an Investigative Research Tool

2016 Year in Review

Mark your calendars for our first event of 2017! This will include a Learning Event on Regulatory updates in 2016 and an outlook on proposed changes in 2017. This will be followed by a networking event at SPiN where you can show off your ping pong skills and/or mingle with colleagues over happy hour food and drinks.

Year-end Learning & Social Event: Northern California ACAMS has Talent!

Please join us for our last event of the year! The Northern California Chapter of ACAMS will be highlighting members who have completed advanced CAMS certifications. Join us to learn more about the topics listed below and advanced certifications and how they can enhance your skills. This event is sponsored by Computer Services, Inc. (CSI). Immediately following the learning event, join us for a Networking Social.


  • Ryan Hodge, CAMS Audit
  • Miguel Alcantar, CAMS FCI



Terrorist and Illicit Finance

Fourth Annual Learning Event on Emerging Payments and Technology

Casinos and Gaming

ACAMS Northern California Chapter Happy Hour

Terrorist Financing

On Thursday, April 28, approximately 70 BSA/AML/OFAC Compliance professionals gathered at the Wells Fargo Learning Annex in San Francisco to attend the Terrorist Financing learning event.

Mayank Johri and Kevin Kinkade from First Republic Bank discussed:

  1. the challenges of identifying terrorist financing,
  2. indicators of terrorist financing including utilizing a Bank’s customer risk rating model and
  3. visualizing the risk using tools.

Their presentation can be found here: http://arca.pagecloud.com/

Then a Special Agent from the FBI provided multiple counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism case studies including a micro-electronics importing/exporting case, credit card re-shipper schemes and calling cards mailed overseas. He took many questions from the audience making it quite an interactive session.


Trade Based Money Laundering Learning Event


Trade Based Money Laundering (TBML) is the process of disguising the proceeds of crime and moving value through the use of trade transactions in an attempt to legitimize their illicit origins. The crime involves a number of schemes in order to complicate the documentation of legitimate trade transactions; such actions may include moving illicit goods, falsifying documents, misrepresenting financial transactions, and under- or over-invoicing the value of goods. We had two speakers covering this topic from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Office of International Trade, Commercial Targeting & Enforcement as well as a speaker from Accuity.

Learning Event: De-Risking

“De-risking” is one of the hot topics in financial crimes. What it is, and whether and why financial institutions terminate or restrict business relationships with categories of customers, is the subject of our next learning event with guest speaker Jim Richards, EVP & BSA Officer for Wells Fargo. Mr. Richards will discuss the current trend many banks are taking today in de-risking the “riskiest” types of customers, the systemic effects of de-risking, and alternative options to de-risking such as strategies for pricing for risk.

Third Annual Half-Day Learning Event: Emerging Payment Technologies 103!

Marijuana and the Green Triangle

Regulatory Changes – Sanctions, CDD, FFIEC Exam Manual Changes

Northern California ACAMS Chapter Extension Kick-Off Social

AML Model Tuning, Validation, & Optimization – Getting the Most Out of Your AML Systems

Global AML Trends and Annual Holiday Cocktail Party

Learning event – Investigative Techniques

On Thursday, October 9, approximately 30 BSA/AML/OFAC Compliance professionals gathered at Bank of the West in San Ramon to attend an interactive session on Investigative Techniques. Neal Reiter from Identity Mind shared some great tips on streamlining and enhancing investigations. In addition, he provided information on various paid and free sites that could assist in investigations. Finally, he provided insight into strategies to streamline/automate investigations. After the formal presentation, the audience was split into groups so that participants could network and share investigative tips and tricks.

Second Annual Half-Day Learning Event: Emerging Payment Technologies 102

On Thursday, July 31, BSA/AML/OFAC Compliance professionals gathered at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara to attend the second annual half day learning event focused on Emerging Payment Technologies. Three sessions covered I) emerging payments technology, II) emerging payments companies and III) virtual currency/Bitcoin investigations. For the first session, speakers from Xapo and Paypal discussed payments technologies including: RFID tabs, beacons, QR barcodes, NFC, digital wallets and bitcoin. In addition to discussing the emerging technologies and what they do, the challenges of adoption and compliance risks/concerns were raised. For the second session, three companies presented their products. This included Square (merchant services), PayNearMe (digitization of currency) and Bitaccess (Bitcoin ATMs). For the third and final session, speakers from virtual currency companies as well as a representative from the San Francisco High Intensity Financial Crimes Area Task Force discussed virtual currency investigations. This included an AML case study of Butterfly Labs. After the sessions concluded, attendees were invited to network during a hosted cocktail hour.

AML Hot Topics

On Thursday, May 29, approximately 70 BSA/AML/OFAC Compliance professionals gathered at the Omni Hotel in San Francisco to attend the AML Hot Topics learning event. The event was sponsored by Oracle. Oracle’s representative Don Ryu provided a presentation on FATCA requirements and provided an overview of FATCA and the implementation timeline. Speakers for the session covered additional hot topics including banking marijuana businesses, sanctions and virtual currency. The first speaker was Robert “Bud” Heng, (RH Counseling), who spoke about FinCEN’s recent guidance on banking marijuana businesses. He covered the state versus federal differences on marijuana issues and what the regulatory expectations are in regards to banking marijuana businesses. Specifically, he covered the different SARs that should be filed based on what type of marijuana activity financial institutions are seeing through their customer’s accounts. Second was Tim Byun (formerly of Visa) who provided insight into the recent sanctions against the Ukraine including the timeline and evolution of the sanctions. He also provided some helpful tips on how to take action on potential matches. Finally, Karsten Behrend (Xapo) provided an overview of virtual currencies and their risks and benefits.

Tool Box Lunch Session

Learning Event, Career Paths in AML – Managing your AML Career

On Thursday March 27th approximately 50 local BSA/AML/Compliance/HR professionals gathered at the Wells Fargo Penthouse Board Room in San Francisco to attend the Career Paths in AML: Managing your AML Career learning event. The diverse panel was comprised of individuals from the financial and human resources industries. The panel members were: Peter Deragon (Stanton Chase), Ryan Hodge (Dwolla/ACAMS N. CA Chapter Secretary) Bob Kenny (FinCEN/ACAMS N. CA Chapter Membership Director), John McCarthy (AirBNB), Sandy Merein (K-force)

Jenner Balagot (ACAMS N. CA Chapter Co-Chair) introduced the panel and served as the moderator for the session. The panelists discussed various career paths available within the AML field, as well as how they have managed to translate AML skills into other opportunities and careers. The panelists participated in a moderated question and answer session and then concluded with a breakout session.

The panelists produced some notable takeaways from the panel discussions. Among the valuable concepts that were presented, it was stated that being flexible and taking experiences from other areas was important when building your overall professional skillset. Other panelists state that it is important to be nimble and prepared to make changes to your normal routine to make yourself a more valuable member of your organization. Another item that was emphasized was the expertise that can be gained by forging partnerships with members of the public sector.

Panelists mentioned that when looking towards outside opportunities that it is valuable to use traditional outlets in addition to social media and web-based searches. It was conveyed that it is important to keep in touch with your professional network and reach out two degrees outside of your established network. The panelists agreed that the CAMS certification and colleagues within the ACAMS organization were indispensable in an individual’s professional development.

The audience used the full hour at the end to network, and to speak with the panelists. The event was a great success and provided a wealth of information via the panel and networking session. The consensus opinion was that the event was relevant and valuable. Many attendees mentioned that they are looking forward to upcoming N. CA Chapter events. Once again, a big thank you to our event sponsor: Kforce Inc, a professional staffing and solutions firm.

Implications of Doing Business with Asia

Emerging Payment Technologies

Model Risk Management

Worried About Satisfying FinCEN’s new CTR and SAR Filing Requirements?

Allie Suazo from Bank of Marin presented the new CTR form. Field by field, she provided details into what will soon be required. Erik Mineishi from Union Bank presented the new SAR form. He provided some great information about what FinCEN has stated they are expecting to see in certain fields. Finally, Pam Bowersox from First Technology Federal Credit Union, provided an overview of their BSA operation. This provided insight into a mid-sized credit union based in the Silicon Valley for those Chapter members who may not be that familiar with how a credit union’s BSA program might operate.

The event was sponsored by Verafin, a company that offers BSA/AML solutions including a solution to file CTRs and SARs using the new form.

Tasha Roberts and Brendan Brothers from Verafin, the event sponsor

Tasha Roberts and Brendan Brothers from Verafin, the event sponsor

Left to right: Brian Stoeckert, Erik Mineishi, Pam Bowersox, Allie Suazo, Lisa Lechner, Brendan Brothers

Left to right: Brian Stoeckert, Erik Mineishi, Pam Bowersox, Allie Suazo, Lisa Lechner, Brendan Brothers

Allie Suazo speaking at Bank of the West

Allie Suazo speaking at Bank of the West

Pam Bowersox speaking at Bank of the West

Pam Bowersox speaking at Bank of the West

Lisa Lechner

Lisa Lechner, CAMS

Lisa is the Chief Compliance Officer at Mercari, Inc and the Co-Chair on the ACAMS Northern CA Chapter. She has served in various senior compliance roles within financial services and technolgy since 1995 including MSBs, banks, credit & collections, and securities. Lisa was previously at RaboBank National Association serving as the OFAC Officer, Privacy Officer and SVP Director of BSA, Compliance Systems and Training. She was the Chief Compliance Officer and AML/BSA Officer at Venmo & Braintree and Head of Product Compliance at AVG. Prior to that, Lisa worked at PayPal as one of the founding members and leaders of the Global AML/CTF Program and later as Head of Compliance Strategy, Product and Analysis. During her career she has created and managed numerous facets of Global AML/CTF programs and policies including: OFAC and Global Sanctions, EDD, FCPA, SAR and FIU program, 314(b) and Law Enforcement response, Training, and Transaction Monitoring. She specializing in the development of compliance strategies for new products, partners, global expansion initiatives, M&A, and for ongoing compliance program development and regulatory reviews. Her experience includes the implementation of an enterprise-wide compliance platform and successful remediations with AUSTRAC and the OCC.

Lisa is a speaker at national and international compliance forums where she has focused on implementing compliance programs (focused on AML/CTF, unique risk, transaction monitoring and identity) and strategies for unique and emerging business models.

She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law and has a B.S. degree in Political Science from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Lisa is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS).

See also: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=5648831

Email: lechnerlisa@yahoo.com

Brian J. Stoeckert

Brian J. Stoeckert, JD, CAMS, CFE
Managing Partner, Stratis Advisory

Brian Stoeckert is a recognized expert in financial crimes and digital currency compliance. He serves as a managing partner at Stratis Advisory, which provides innovative risk and compliance solutions to emerging growth companies and financial institutions. Brian works with digital currency and FinTech companies, financial institutions, money services businesses, and government agencies. He maintains significant Bitcoin market intelligence with numerous clients in the emerging global ecosystem. Moreover, he has served as an expert in civil and regulatory matters related to intellectual property rights, anti-money laundering and digital currency compliance, and international bond swaps.

Brian previously served as a strategy and management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in San Francisco, CA, advising executive management and the board of directors of money service businesses, financial institutions under consent orders, and international intelligence firms. Prior to Booz Allen, he served as Vice President for OneWest Bank (now CIT), where he managed the AML M&A due diligence of three failed financial institutions purchased from the FDIC and developed a fully integrated enterprise-wide AML program.

Brian has been featured in theWall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Salon.com, American Bankers Association Banking Journal, Payments Source, Compliance Week, Upstart Business Journal, CoinDesk, ACAMSMoneyLaundering.com, and MainJustice. Moreover, he has served as a guest lecturer at New York University’s Law School and Stern School of Business on anti-money laundering laws, regulations, and digital currency compliance. Brian has testified before domestic and foreign governments and is frequent presenter at international financial crimes conferences.

Brian is a recipient of Stony Brook University’s 2014 Top 40 Under Forty and the 2011 ACAMS Volunteer of the Year Award. He serves as the Chair of the ACAMS Chapter Steering Committee, an Executive Board member of the ACAMS Northern California Chapter, and an ACAMS faculty member for the Advanced Certification Program and CAMS Examination Prep. He received his Juris Doctor from New York Law School and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stony Brook University.

He can be reached at bstoeckert@stratisadvisory.com, @StratisAdvisory, or 917.554.9903.

Colleen Kearns

Colleen Kearns, CAMS, CFE
Co-Programming Speakers Director
Wells Fargo

Colleen is currently a Vice President and Risk Engineering Consultant in the Consumer Lending Group at Wells Fargo Bank. Prior to that, Colleen spent several years as a Financial Crimes Manager with Wells Fargo’s Financial Crimes Investigations group. Prior to Wells Fargo, Colleen was a manager with Ernst & Young LLP’s Fraud Investigations & Dispute Services group. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown University and a Master of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at University of California at Berkeley. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS).

Email: colleen.kearns@wellsfargo.com

Ryan Hodge

Ryan Hodge, CAMS
Co-Programming Director

Ryan Hodge is the BSA and OFAC Officer for Dwolla, a burgeoning payment network company. In this role he has built and maintains the BSA and OFAC Programs in a fast-paced regulatory environment. Previously he served as the BSA and OFAC Officer for Chevron Federal Credit Union (CFCU), a federal credit union with over $2.5B in assets. While at CFCU, Ryan implemented the first company-wide fraud program.

Having started his financial services career in 2001, he has watched firsthand how the USA PATRIOT Act and increased focus on the BSA has shaped the industry.During that time Ryan has gleaned perspective and expertise in a variety of roles focused on fraud, anti-money laundering and sanctions, within a range of institution types and sizes – from Fortune 500 banks to credit unions and fledgling startups.

Ryan is a Certified Anti-Money Specialist and recently graduated from the inaugural class for ACAMS’ advanced certification, CAMS-Audit.

Email: ryan@dwolla.com

Steven Christie

Steven Christie, CAMS
OzForex Group

Steven is currently the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Manager at OzForex Group/USForex, a global leader in foreign exchange/remittance. In this role, he oversees the transaction monitoring, investigation, and reporting of suspicious activity related to money laundering and terrorist financing. He has over 13 years of financial services experience and over 8 years of experience in the BSA/AML/OFAC space. Prior to his tenure at OzForex, Steve was the Chief Compliance Officer at bitcoin security firm Xapo, Inc. and spent 7 years at Bank of the West where he served as VP BSA/AML Investigations Manager. Steven began his career in the financial services industry as a manager for a full service real estate appraisal firm specializing in appraisal and mortgage fraud, loss prevention, and risk management for wholesale lending and securitization firms.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree (magna cum laude), in Business Management, from the Menlo College. Steve is also a licensed CA Real Estate Broker (BRE# 01822958).

Email: Steven.Christie@OFX.com

Amanda Low

Amanda Low, CAMS
Communications Director
Bank of the West

Amanda is currently Vice President, Regulatory Relations Sr. Manager managing the Exam Management Team at Bank of the West. Prior to that she was the BSA Compliance Program Manager managing the Corporate BSA/AML Program Team with oversight of BSA/AML Policies and Procedures, Risk Assessment, Training, and Monitoring and Testing. She has almost 20 years of financial services experience and almost ten years of experience in the BSA/AML/OFAC space. She is an active member of the California Bar Association and a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist. Previously, she was a Senior Audit Leader at Wells Fargo acting as an Auditor in Charge of complex BSA/AML/OFAC audits and acted as a subject matter expert on line of business audits where BSA/AML/OFAC was involved. Prior to her position at Wells Fargo, she was First Vice President and AML Compliance Officer for the former United Commercial Bank, a $13 billion bank headquartered in San Francisco. She received her J.D. from John F. Kennedy University, School of Law and received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, with a major in Legal Studies and a minor in Ethnic Studies.

Email: amanda.low@bankofthewest.com

Robert Kenny

Robert “Bob” Kenny, CAMS
Membership Director

Bob Kenny is the Manager of the Strategic Intelligence Unit (SIU) for First Republic Bank’s AML Operations Group where he oversees Intelligence de-confliction, coordination, and production within AML Operations as well as training program management within the group.

Previously, Bob was a Senior Intelligence Research Specialist with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), for 11 years, where he was assigned working as a liaison for FinCEN in the Northern California Region and as the FinCEN Representative to the San Francisco High Intensity Financial Crimes Area (HIFCA) Task Force working in support of financial investigations and providing liaison assistance to law enforcement agencies in the Northern California area on FinCEN related issues.

Prior to his assignment with FinCEN, Bob spent over fourteen years with the Department of Defense working in support of law enforcement and intelligence community efforts related to criminal investigations and operations, as well as serving in the United States Army for 11 years prior to that.

Bob is a a Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS), and a member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), and an Executive Board member of the Northern California Chapter of ACAMS. In addition, Bob is also Certified Criminal Analyst and a member of the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts.

Email: bken01@comcast.net

Arjun Kalra

Arjun Kalra, CAMS
Programming Director
Crowe Horwath

Arjun is a Manager in Crowe Horwath’s Risk Consulting practice where he assists financial institutions with various federal and state regulatory issues. His primary focus over the last eight years has been in leading efforts to assist financial institutions with the operational aspects of their Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti Money Laundering programs. During this time Arjun has led engagements to develop comprehensive AML programs in response to regulatory actions and in the design and implementation of technology to address complex business issues facing the banking industry. Arjun has also performed AML and fraud investigations, BSA audits for banks and Money Service Businesses, implemented transaction monitoring and enterprise-wide case management systems and assisted with defining and structuring organizations’ Financial Intelligence Units (FIU). He has also developed training programs for conducting investigations and identifying suspicious activity and has trained numerous bank personnel as well as internal resources in the fields of investigations and transaction monitoring.

As a transaction monitoring subject matter expert, Arjun was instrumental in designing Crowe’s transaction monitoring tuning methodology and subsequently has led the effort to refine the methodology in the face of evolving regulations and technologies. He also played a significant role on the team that developed Crowe’s proprietary system tuning software, Crowe Caliber™. Leveraging Crowe’s system tuning methodology and technology, Arjun consults with his clients to improve the quality of suspicious activity alerts and more effectively utilize the organization’s resources, regardless of the transaction monitoring system they use.

Arjun received his M.B.A. from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and serves on the Young Professionals Board for Junior Achievement of Northern California.

Email: Arjun.Kalra@crowehorwath.com

Jana Hatten

Jana Hatten, CAMS
Extension Director
Rabobank, N.A.

Jana Hatten is the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) of Rabobank, N.A. and previously was CCO of Visa Digital Services, Inc and CCO of City National Bank in Los Angeles. She was also a Director for PayPal in the global Risk and Compliance departments. Please see her extended bio on LinkedIn.

Jana holds the position of Extension Director on the NorCal Board. Her primary responsibility is extending the NorCal Chapters’ presence in the Sacramento and Central Valley regions to better serve our current (and future) members.

Email: jana.hatten@rabobank.com

Faranak Firozan

Faranak Firozan
First Republic Bank

Faranak is a professional in investigating financial transactions and behaviors, with extensive expertise in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and its sophisticated technology. She is highly experienced in IT application development, AML regulatory environment, analyzing risks, recommending escalations, and aiding firms to discover, deter, and prevent criminal activities.

Faranak graduated from Notre Dame De Namur University in 2016 from the MBA in Finance program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, Iran. She is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and is proficient in both English and Farsi. Her hobbies include CrossFit, dancing, and hiking.