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FinCEN Reports on 314(A): Data-Match Searches Proving to be Valuable

FinCEN began processing 314(a) requests in November, 2002. Section 314(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 required regulations to allow law enforcement and financial institutions to share information about individuals, entities, and organizations engaged in or reasonably suspected of engaging in terrorist acts or money laundering activities.

By using the process set up by FinCEN federal law enforcement can reach out to 34,026 points of contact in the financial industry to locate accounts and transactions of persons that may be involved in terrorism or money laundering. Financial institutions have two weeks from the transmission date of the request for information to respond if a match was found, and to provide point-of-contact information. No reply means no match.

These responses enable an investigator to canvas the nation's financial institutions for potential lead information that might otherwise never be uncovered.

From February, 2003 through August, 2004, the 314(a) system processed 323 requests submitted by ten Federal agencies. There were 2,226 subjects of interest identified in the investigations. Of these, the financial institutions responded with 16,443 subject matches. The results, say FinCEN and law enforcement, are overwhelmingly positive. Critical evidence has been obtained on arms trafficking, alien smuggling resulting in fatalities, investment fraud, drug trafficking rings and an international criminal network involved in identity theft and wire fraud.

In addition, immediate matches have led to the identification of new accounts, transactions and to indictments. There are presently 601 Grand Jury subpoenas pending from the information supplied.FinCEN says that although the system is working well, they are continuing to fine-tune the process.

Copyright © 2004 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 14, No. 6, 10/10

First published on 10/10/2004

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