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FinCEN's 314(a) Fact Sheet

Under the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, Section 314(a), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a department of the U.S. Treasury, receives requests from federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Secret Service, etc. for information from financial institutions, so they can locate accounts and transactions of persons that may be involved in terrorism or money laundering. FinCEN reviews the requests, making sure the request has been appropriately approved at the agency level, and that the matter under investigation satisfies FinCEN's standards. Once this certification is complete, FinCEN sends out the request, (once every two weeks) which contains an individual's name, or business name, addresses, etc., to 38,234 points of contact at more than 24,000 financial institutions. The financial institutions must go to their records for data matches, including accounts maintained by the named subject during the preceding 12 months and transactions conducted within the last 6 months, and if a match is found, respond within two weeks.

This process has been in continuous operation since February 2003. In a report released June 21, FinCEN recorded the facts that the 314(a) system has processed 411 requests submitted by thirteen Federal agencies between February, '03 and June, '05, resulting in 152 cases of Terrorism/Terrorist Financing and 259 cases of Money Laundering. They also reported the investigations identified 2,921 subjects of interest. Of these, financial institutions responded with 21,400 total subject matches, 20,459 of which were positive. Law enforcement considers the 314(a) results "overwhelmingly positive."

The complete report can be found at www.fincen.gov.

Copyright © 2005 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 15, No. 6, 7/05

First published on 07/01/2005

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