President Cheri stepped to the podium and welcomed everyone.  She then led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. With no clergy in attendance for an invocation, she gave us a “thought of the day.” Life is a journey. No one is ahead of you or behind you. You are not more advanced or less enlightened. You are exactly where you need to be. It’s not a contest. It’s life.  We are ALL teachers and we are ALL students of life. Live in the moment and as Rotarians challenge yourself to make a difference every day. 
Visiting Rotarians were introduced.  Rita Kumar joined us all the way from the Cheadle Rotary Club, in Manchester London.  Two members of the San Mateo Club, Michelle Privitera and Rosemary Azem, were in attendance as was Neomi Avram from Foster City Rotary.
Cary Koh reminded us of our upcoming Golf Tournament and Club Dinner, our one major fundraiser.  It will be held on October 21, 2019, at Green Hills Country Club.  We still need golfers and sponsors.  As in past years, the dinner is a mandatory event so please make your reservation and pay the $100 fee.  It will be a wonderful evening so bring someone, as well.  Go to our website for details and payment options.
Fritz Brauner was asked to provide a “Rotary Moment”.  Not one to be caught off guard he was able to enlighten us on all the things we should be celebrating on this date.  Little did we know that today was National Bonsai Day, Power Ranger Day, and Bow Tie Day.  Scott Williams bemoaned the fact that he had left his bow tie on his tux.  Most of us cheered when we learned it was also National Red Wine Day.  Santé!!
Our speaker was our own Chris Ramirez who utilized his banking expertise to explain Federal Anti-Money Laundering regulations.  It all began in 1970 with the passage of the Bank Secrecy Act. Bank Secrecy Act, also called Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, U.S. legislation, signed into law by Pres. Richard Nixon, and required banks and other financial entities in the United States to maintain records and file reports on currency transactions and suspicious activity with the government.  Over the years additional regulations have been added to strengthen these requirements.  If you do a large cash transaction you will be asked for information for a currency transaction report (CTR) that U.S. financial institutions are required to file with FinCEN for each deposit, withdrawal, exchange of currency, or other payment or transfer to the financial institution which involves a transaction in currency  of over $10,000. Chris lightened the presentation by showing a fun video that gave some historical perspective of money laundering as well as the how-to steps involved.  It all began in the 1930s with the notorious gangster Al Capone.  Law enforcement was never able to convict him for all the illegal activity in which he and his cohorts were engaged.  But they were able to follow the money as they “laundered” the ill-gotten cash.  Step one was placement where they would first run it through a cash business such as a pizza parlor, laundromat or other shell enterprises.  Step two was layering where the money would be moved between businesses, sent to casinos, used to buy artwork or real estate.  Step three is integration where these “dirty” funds are now placed back into legitimate circulation.  It was tax evasion that finally brought down Al Capone.  But modern-day cartels and terrorist groups are using these same tactics to launder their “dirty” money.  Joe Galligan asked how the Cayman Islands differed from the US.  Chris explained that they, like other “safe havens”, are not bound by any of these reporting requirements and therefore are magnets for people who want to keep their funds out of US purview.
REMINDER: Go to our website for details and payment options for the Golf Event - Oct 1st is coming soon!!!