The SEC claims that Crowell opened 2,900 new accounts from 2003-2004 by relying on brokers who simply vouched for the customer opening the account, contrary to the stated company policy requiring several different types of identity checks for each new customer - including searching public databases and reviewing official personal identification documents. Crowell said that it has now improved its procedures to accommodate Patriot Act requirements. The customer identification procedures are an important method to deterring money laundering that can be used by terrorist groups, according to Randall R. Lee, director of the SEC's Regional Pacific Office. AP has more. The Los Angeles Times has local coverage.
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