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|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2011
|CONTACT: Steve Hudak
FinCEN Assesses Civil Money Penalty for Suspicious Activity Report
Bank Employee Unlawfully Revealed Existence of SAR to Subject of the Report
VIENNA, Va. - The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today announced the assessment of a $25,000 civil money penalty against Frank Mendoza of Garden Grove, California, for violating Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) prohibitions against disclosing suspicious activity reports ("SARs"). FinCEN determined that Mendoza violated the BSA and its implementing regulations by willfully disclosing the existence of a SAR to a person involved in the reported transaction. Mendoza was convicted in a criminal case of bribery and unlawful SAR disclosure in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
"FinCEN should and will exercise its authority to assess a civil money penalty against any person clearly involved in the unauthorized disclosure of a SAR," said FinCEN Director James H. Freis, Jr. "Imposition of civil money penalties against persons willfully disclosing the existence of a SAR defends the environment of trust between the government and financial institutions, ensures that financial institution personnel can report activity without fear of reprisal by subjects identified in reports, and protects the integrity of the information reported on SARs as well as any future or ongoing investigations."
The evidence established that Mendoza contacted the subject of a bank SAR, disclosed existence of the report, and extracted bribes from the subject in return for Mendoza's promise to assist the subject with any ensuing bank proceedings or Federal criminal investigation. Today's action resulted from coordination between FinCEN, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
F inCEN's mission is to enhance U.S. national security, deter and detect criminal activity, and safeguard financial systems from abuse by promoting transparency in the U.S. and international financial systems.