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Name: Freis, James
Current Position: Previous Director
James H. Freis, Jr. has served as director of FinCEN since March 2007, when he was appointed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Freis received his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in 1992 and his JD from Harvard, graduating with honors at both institutions. 
After receiving his degree, Freis worked in the legal department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and spent a year in Germany working for the Federal Banking Supervisory Authority. Expanding on his international experience, Freis moved to Basel, Switzerland, where he worked as senior legal counsel at the Bank for International Settlements. 
Upon moving back to the states, Freis worked for the Treasury Department as Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement and Intelligence, providing legal counsel to the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, which included working with FinCEN, the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture. 
Freis is the third director of FinCEN in two years, following the departure of both of his predecessors to the private sector. Lacking consistent leadership, FinCEN has yet to deal with 12 pending proposals, including extending SAR reporting to real estate professionals and hedge funds. Perhaps the most important pending issue is the choice of a new data management system and its effective administration. FinCEN has pulled the plug on its new BSA direct program, which it has already sunk $14 million into, and reverted to its old system. The old system is housed and operated by the IRS, and was declared obsolete three years ago by FinCEN as it undertook the BSA direct program. In response to this problem, a new chief information officer was hired in July 2007.
Gripping the Oar Means Risking the Shirt (Letter to the Editor regarding the trading of jerseys by rowing crews, by James Freis, New York Times)
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