Overview and Purpose
The Patriot Act (the "Act") was a response by the United States Government to the attacks of terrorists on September 11, 2001. The objective of the Act is to help prevent the United States financial system and markets from being used to fund terrorism and other criminal activities by, among other things, requiring that broker dealers of securities and financial institutions take certain measures and actions in furtherance of national efforts to detect suspicious transactions and money laundering activities by their clients. Money laundering is one or more steps taken to disguise or hide money illegally obtained or used in carrying out other illegal activities to create the appearance that those monies were obtained or used, directly or indirectly, from law abiding persons, legal sources and legally permitted activities. The use of money laundering is not confined to terrorists, but rather includes a wide array of criminal activity, including such things as the sale of illegal arms and other black market transactions, illicit trafficking in narcotics, racketeering and racketeer-influenced conduct, robbery and fraud.
In compliance with the Act, John Thomas Financial has instituted policies and procedures in a detailed anti-money laundering compliance program (the "Program"), which includes i) designation of a special anti-money laundering compliance officer (called an "AML Officer"), ii) detection and reporting of suspicious transactions to the United States government, iii) a specialized training program for John Thomas Financial personnel in identifying "red flags" that may indicate suspicious or possible money laundering activity, iv) continuing education requirements for such personnel in anti-money laundering practices and procedures and v) annual independent audits of the effectiveness of the Program.
The Need to Obtain Clients' Personal Information
It is important for clients to understand that the Act and regulations promulgated pursuant to it also requires broker-dealers and financial institutions to obtain and verify the correctness of their clients' personal information, including i) actual identities (proved by such things as taxpayer identification numbers, social security numbers or (in other countries) similar documentation, and motor vehicle operator licenses, ii) the source of funds deposited into client accounts, and iii) how clients obtained their wealth.
John Thomas Financial appreciates the cooperation and assistance of its clients in carrying out its legal obligations under the Act and the fight against terrorism, criminal enterprises and money laundering activities.