The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is a department of the U.S. government responsible for enforcing economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals. Typically, these sanctions are aimed against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities.
As such, OFAC's sanctions against such dangerous entities should not be taken lightly. OFAC specifically sanctions against these individuals or organization for many reasons that pertain to United States' national security.
Who is required to comply with OFAC sanctions?
According to United States law, every individual in the U.S. must adhere with OFAC regulations; this includes all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located. Additionally, all persons and entities within the United States, all U.S. incorporated entities and their foreign branches are subject to OFAC compliance.
What are some consequences for OFAC violations?
As previously mentioned, the motivations behind OFAC violation pertain to national security; therefore, it is not surprising that the consequences would be heavy for criminal, civil, and other violations.
Criminal penalties include a fine of up to $1 million and/or up to 20 years in prison—for each violation. Moreover, civil penalties include a fine of up to $55,000 for each violation. Lastly, other penalties for violations of OFAC regulations include seizure/forfeiture of the goods involved.
Specially Designated Nationals List
The Office of Foreign Assets Control also regularly publishes and updates a list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN list for short). This list includes over 3,500 names of individuals and companies associated with the sanctioned targets.
Many of these named individuals and entities are known to move from country to country—ending up in unexpected locations. That is why staying updated with OFAC's SDN list on their website is important for individuals and businesses to stay within OFAC compliance.
According to law, all U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with SDNs—regardless of wherever they are located; moreover, all SDN assets are blocked. The list will also sometimes “delist” individuals, so it is always important to know that the information you have from OFAC is the most current update.
Ultimately, many businesses and individuals may unintentionally be involved with OFAC sanctioned entities or targets. It is important that once you suspect that OFAC sanctions may be violated, he or she seek legal counsel.
As aforementioned, OFAC national security goals and enforcement should never be taken lightly. These economic and trade sanctions are often used to advance U.S. goals regarding anti-terrorism measures or humanitarian efforts.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice.
For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.
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