Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's bank fined $250K

(WXYZ) - The bank where former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick made many of his cash transactions is being fined $250,000. 

U. S. Attorney Barbara McQuade reached an agreement with First Independence Bank about the bank's compliance procedures with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. 

As part of that deal, First Independence Bank will pay the $250,000 fine and make sure that their employees are following all of the regulations and laws.

First Independence Bank was mentioned several times during the Kilpatrick Corruption trial.  Last week, the former mayor was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for his racketeering, bribery, tax, and mail/wire fraud convictions.  His co-defendant, Bobby Ferguson, was sentenced to 21 years.  Kilpatrick's father, Bernard, is heading to prison for 15 months for a tax conviction.

According to trial testimony, several of the former mayor's cash and credit card transactions took place at First Independence Bank. 

Several employees testified Kilpatrick would often bring chunks of cash into the Detroit bank to pay his credit card bills.

Bobby Ferguson also banked at First Independence Bank.

And key witness Emma Bell testified that she would cash her paychecks from Kilpatrick's campaign fund at First Independence.. and then buy cashier's checks in amounts less than ten thousand dollars to avoid IRS detection.

Donald Davis is the CEO and Chairman of First Indepedence Bank – and was once a supporter of Kwame Kilpatrick.

According to records, Davis gave $25,000 to the Detroit Justice Fund, which helped for pay for Kilpatrick's legal expenses.

The new agreement with the feds indicates that prior to 2009, the bank had unsatisfactory Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering compliance practices.  But McQuade says the bank has made several changes in personnel and procedures since then.

In a written statement, First Independence President Richard Zamojski said, "we are intent on fulfilling effectively and completely our obligations regarding customer due diligence, BSA/AML procedures and reporting requirements with respect to suspicious account activity… We have worked closely and cooperatively with the United States Attorney's Office and our Federal regulators to establish and maintain what we consider to be the best in class programs and procedures to comply with anti-money laundering and bank secrecy laws. Since 2009, the programs that we have instituted are among the strongest in the country for a bank of our size."

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