I had to double-check the date on this post. ‘I wrote “ISIS Beer Funds!!!” in a Venmo Memo and the Government Detained My $42,’ April 6, nothing wrong there. Ben Guarino had his $42 of beer money transaction nabbed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
OFAC are a bit of an economic hit squad for enemies of the state. They seem a bit wild and their prioritization of Cuba archaic in light of recent events. In February 2016 the French geoscience company, CGG France, agreed to settle a case for $614,250. They’d allegedly violated the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, or ‘the US sanctions’ by taking spare parts and nameless equipment from US waters to Cuban waters and for doing science; analyzing data from seismic surveys “conducted in Cuba’s Exclusive Economic Zone and benefitting a Cuban company”. 2016 and oil companies can’t engage a socialist state in commerce off the coast Florida if they so choose.
And because it’s 2016, there is a huge Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list with huge numbers of companies and individuals that are subject to sanctions. See if you’re on there!
Sardonic beer drinking hipsters are now the prey of this 66-year-old agency. The first targets for OFAC were Chinese and North Korean assets in the Korean War. I guess we all thought that words like ISIS would trigger things. Gawker even posted a list of flaggable words in October confirming what Venmo don’t like, but I guess you can’t put a price on wit. Ben continues to wait for his $42.