Carol R. Van Cleef

Partner

Washington, D.C.
T +1.202.861.1514
F +1.202.861.1783

Overview

Carol Van Cleef provides legal and strategic advice to depository institutions, money services businesses, other financial services companies, and FinTech firms on federal and state regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters. She advises a range of clients, from startup businesses to publicly traded companies, private equity funds and other entities in understanding the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), USA Patriot Act, sanctions regulations, and state money transmitter licensing statutes; creating, evaluating and enhancing anti-money laundering and OFAC compliance programs; and addressing consumer protection issues including privacy and data security and unfair, abusive and deceptive practices. Carol is a pragmatic and forward-thinking advocate in the regulation of fintech and regtech, including emerging and alternative payments systems, prepaid access, mobile payments, virtual currencies, and blockchain/ledger technologies. 

A Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS)*, Carol created a series of AML compliance training programs sponsored by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and attended by regulators from 45 states and representatives of domestic and foreign banks, securities firms, money services businesses and other entities. She also developed and leads an AML Compliance Bootcamp for Virtual Currency and Blockchain Technology Companies, which has been attended by the virtual currency community and bankers. She participates in the Uniform Law Commission's efforts to draft a model legal code for virtual currencies.

Select Experience

  • Advise the operator of a gold-backed virtual currency system in the system’s launch, including state money transmitter licensing, anti-money laundering and OFAC compliance, consumer protection and privacy, and data security.
  • Advise multiple bitcoin exchange and broker operations in addressing state money transmitter licensing, money services business registration under FinCEN regulations, and anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance.
  • Represented a FinTech company in the development of a prepaid access software service for mobile carriers addressing state money transmitter licensing, anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance, and consumer protection issues, including privacy and data security.

*Certified by ACAMS. There is no procedure in the Commonwealth of Virginia for approving certifying organizations.

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Experience

  • Advise the operator of a gold-backed virtual currency system in the system’s launch, including state money transmitter licensing, anti-money laundering and OFAC compliance, consumer protection and privacy, and data security.
  • Advise multiple bitcoin exchange and broker operations in addressing state money transmitter licensing, money services business registration under FinCEN regulations, and anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance.
  • Represented a FinTech company in the development of a prepaid access software service for mobile carriers addressing state money transmitter licensing, anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance, and consumer protection issues, including privacy and data security.
  • Advises prepaid access program managers in revising their general purpose reloadable card programs to comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Board's final Prepaid Access Rule.
  • Advises gift card programs on compliance with the Card Act; Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP); and Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts and Practices (UDAAP) and compliance with the BSA and FinCEN regulations.
  • Assists money services businesses (MSBs) in enhancing their BSA/AML compliance programs and preparing for Title 31 examinations by the IRS. 
  • Represented several in-person and electronic bill payment companies in seeking money transmitter licenses in more than 40 states, registering as MSBs and developing and implementing a fully compliant BSA-required anti-money laundering and OFAC compliance programs.
  • Represented a bank and a prepaid access program in a federal regulatory examination and enforcement action. 
  • Represented a bank's BSA/AML compliance office in a potential enforcement action raising issues of personal liability for actions of the institution. 
  • Represents a tribal lender’s payment processor in addressing issues under federal, state, NACHA and card network rules.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Legal 500 United States (2017)
    • Recommended in Media, Technology and Telecoms: Data protection and privacy
  • Washington, D.C. "Super Lawyer" (2013 to 2014)
  • WesPay: George E. Lowther Award for Outstanding Payments Industry Service (2014)

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
    • Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, Legislative Process and Lobbying Committee: Former Vice Chair
  • Women in Housing and Finance: Past President
  • Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS)
  • Chamber of Digital Commerce: Advisory Board
  • X-Mode Social Inc.: Advisory Board
  • Chamber of Digital Commerce: Lawyers Committee

News

News

Press Releases

Publications

Alerts

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia

Education

  • J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1984
  • B.S.F.S., Georgetown University, 1978