The Detroit News

Feds fine Kilpatrick’s bank $250K

Firm ac­cused of not fol­low­ing anti-money-laun­der­ing laws


— Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors Fri­day levied a $250,000 fine against a Detroit bank that re­peat­edly sur­faced in crim­i­nal cases against ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and con­trac­tor Bobby Fer­gu­son.

In ad­di­tion to the fine, First In­de­pen­dence Bank of­fi­cials agreed to com­ply with the Bank Se­crecy Act and anti-money-laun­der­ing reg­u­la­tions.

“The agree­ment in­di­cates that, prior to 2009, First In­de­pen­dence Bank had un­sat­is­fac­tory BSA and AML com­pli­ance pro­grams and prac­tices,” ac­cord­ing to the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

While it’s un­clear what bank­ing ac­tiv­ity prompted the set­tle­ment, the bank came up re­peat­edly dur­ing the City Hall cor­rup­tion trial, FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tions and Fer­gu­son’s bid-rig­ging trial.

The gov­ern­ment’s ac­tion against the bank was an­nounced the day af­ter Kilpatrick’s fa­ther, Bernard Kilpatrick, was sen­tenced in the City Hall scan­dal and served as a post­script to one of the most im­por­tant and high-pro­file pub­lic cor­rup­tion cases in re­cent U.S. his­tory. Ear­lier this month, Kwame Kilpatrick and Fer­gu­son were sen­tenced on cor­rup­tion charges to 28 and 21 years, re­spec­tively.

The chair­man and CEO of First In­de­pen­dence Bank is for­mer Mo­town gui­tarist Don Davis, a vo­cal Kilpatrick sup­porter. The bank was pa­tron­ized by a host of cor­rupt Detroit of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing for­mer Detroit City Coun­cil­man Alonzo Bates.

“We are in­tent on ful­fill­ing ef­fec­tively and com­pletely our obli­ga­tions re­gard­ing cus­tomer due dili­gence, (Bank Se­crecy Act and anti-money laun­der­ing) pro­ce­dures and re­port­ing re­quire­ments with re­spect to sus­pi­cious ac­count ac­tiv­ity,” First In­de­pen­dence Pres­i­dent Richard Zamo­jski said in a state­ment.

The bank, the only fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion head­quar­tered in Detroit, opened in 1970 and has three branches. It had more than $185 mil­lion in as­sets as of Dec. 31.

Its board of di­rec­tors in­cludes the Rev. Wen­dell An­thony, a long­time Kilpatrick sup­porter who also sits on the city’s Gen­eral Pen­sion fund.

Un­der Fri­day’s an­nounced agree­ment with the U.S. At­tor­ney’s of­fice, the bank must “en­sure that its ... poli­cies and pro­ce­dures will com­ply with all ap­pli­ca­ble laws and reg­u­la­tions,” ac­cord­ing to a U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice state­ment.

“It is vi­tal that banks per­form the re­quired lev-

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