Feedback on Suspicious Activity Reporting Released at ABA/ABA Money Laundering Seminar

Jane Fisher or Sheri James, FinCEN (703) 905-3770
Immediate Release

A mechanism for providing feedback to financialinstitutions about a key anti-money laundering reporting requirement onsuspicious activity was put in place with the release today of TheSAR Activity Review – Trends, Tips and Issues.

The Reviewwas released at the 12th Annual American Bankers Association/AmericanBar Association Money Laundering Enforcement Seminar that is being held October29-31 in Arlington, VA. Itrepresents a vital, cooperative effort involving financial servicesrepresentatives, federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies and includesinformation about: SAR statistics;patterns and trends of suspicious activity that have been reported; tips andguidance for financial institutions on form preparation and filing; and recentlyreleased statistics from the ABA Check Fraud Survey.

Financial institutions were required to begin filingSuspicious Activity Reports, or SARs, in April of 1996 to assist law enforcementin detecting and prosecuting violations of money laundering and other financialcrimes. The SAR system replaced the“criminal referral reporting” system that had been in place since 1984. As the SAR program matured, feedback among law enforcement, regulatorsand the regulated industry about the value of the information being reported wasrecognized as an important part of on-going efforts to further refine thequality of SAR information.

According to FinCEN Director, James F. Sloan, TheReview, which will be published semi-annually, represents “an absolutelyessential basis for further progress in providing law enforcement, regulatorsand the regulated industry with meaningful information about the utility ofSuspicious Activity Reports. Informationsharing among these groups is central to the success of this country’santi-money laundering strategy, and it is a defining characteristic of theFinCEN Network. We are very pleased with the results of this importantcollaborative effort among all the parties involved.”

Amongthose that participated in this review were: the American Bankers Association; Independent Bankers Association;Independent Community Bankers of America; American Institute of Certified PublicAccountants; Securities Industry Association; Non-Bank Funds Transmitters Group;Federal Reserve Board; Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; FederalDeposit Insurance Corporation; Office of Thrift Supervision; National CreditUnion Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Department ofJustice’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section; U.S. Department ofJustice’s Criminal Division; U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office ofEnforcement; U.S. Customs Service; U.S. Secret Service; Internal RevenueService; and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

TheReview willbe available on FinCEN’s website by November 3. Copies may also be obtained by calling FinCEN’s publications line at703/905-3773.