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My husband has a side company that has its HQ in Puerto Rico. The company closed a contract in Brazil and was told they are wiring the funds to Puerto Rico. I was told that Homeland Security has the "wire" on hold due to the nature of the amount. I feel like things are not adding up. If the wire "left" Brazil and Homeland Security is holding the "wire" who and what steps should be taken to relieve the "hold"? The partner is telling my company they need to hire an "expeditor" to get things complete. Can someone shed some light on what this "process" should look like b/c I have no idea what is real or isn't real anymore and my family's livelihood is on the line.

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most likely you are being scammed, despite AML, BSA and the patriot act. None of those laws would have stopped the terrorists from wiring money to a bank in florida. Wires are subject to Suspicious Activity Reports which are investigated retroactively, I'm not really sure about the holds as wires are instant or at most come with overnight settlement into your account. –  CQM Dec 28 '12 at 5:00
    
I'm afraid CQM is correct, that was my first reaction as well. –  JoeTaxpayer Dec 28 '12 at 20:49
    
My husband feels that this isn't a scam, but think he is too trusting. He was told that the transfer was "flagged" and now they have to hire a consultant that is former State Dept official to get the transfer approved, which could take a day or a year. Logically, this sounds insane and that is why I don't believe anything, but I have nothing to show my husband. Are there any websites that explain how these transfers normally work? Any info I can show him that his partner is filling him with stories? –  Monica Dec 28 '12 at 22:19
    
@CQM: AML is post facto, it after the transaction is done. Typically its matched with 6 months data. OFAC is immediate, every transaction when it enter or leaves the Bank is OFAC screened for list of banned entities. If there is a hit, it gets stopped. I am not too sure if this activity is now done by Homeland Security. –  Dheer Dec 29 '12 at 5:01
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In General:

All transactions are investigated for AML [Anit Money Laundering], and OFAC [Office of Foreign Assests under Control] to detect any illegal activities. Incase any suspecious transaction is detected, it is investigated further. In your case the funds would[Guessing] have been received by your Bank and if it trigger alarms, its further investigated. Normally more details are asked from the Originating Bank. At times this activity takes few days and there is no invervention required or possible. The funds would be received automatically once the investigation is complete.

If its determined its fradulent [involved in AML or terriorist funding or any other such activity], it would not get credited and law will come knocking on the doors of people involved.

If the sending Bank is Brazil is a US based bank, then these investigations will be done before they send the funds to US Bank.

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Thank you for replying. I don't have any background with anything like this. He was told the Brazil bank wire would not "go through" because Homeland Security "flagged" it. Does the Brazil bank have to prove the transfer is legit since or does the client in Puerto Rico have to "prove" this? Who carries the burden on proving the transaction is not illegal? –  Monica Dec 28 '12 at 15:58
    
If its held at receiving bank, the authorities would ask clarifications to receiving bank and since they will not have info, they will contact the sending bank, who may in turn contact the sender if they themselves do not have the info. –  Dheer Dec 29 '12 at 4:59
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