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#1047593 - 09/22/08 09:34 PM Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR
Paris Offline
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Honolulu HI
When can we contact law enforcement regarding a SAR filing if we want their immediate attention to a SAR we filed? We have not taken any loss.

When law enforcement does come to the institution regarding a SAR, what are we allowed to disclose and give to them?

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#1047956 - 09/23/08 01:59 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Paris
Retread Offline
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Retread
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You can contact law enforcement anytime after you officially file the SAR with FinCEN. When they come regarding the SAR, you can give them the supporting documentation for the SAR. Just be sure you do not volunteer any additional information. If that becomes necessary, you can file a supplemental SAR or they can issue a subpoena for any additional documents.
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#1048032 - 09/23/08 02:30 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Paris
Ted Dreyer Offline
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This is what the BSA Exam Manual says, from footnote 55 on page 64:

"If a bank knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that a customer may be linked to terrorist activity against the United States, the bank should immediately call FinCEN’s Financial Institutions Terrorist Hotline at the toll-free number: 866-556-3974. Similarly, if any other suspected violation — such as an ongoing money laundering scheme — requires immediate attention, the bank should notify the appropriate federal banking and law enforcement agencies. In either case, the bank must also file a SAR."

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#1048511 - 09/23/08 06:31 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Retread
Maytagman Offline
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Originally Posted By: Retread
You can contact law enforcement anytime after you officially file the SAR with FinCEN.


I think the logic there is that you can't orally report to law enforcement anything other than what is in the SAR. But I'm under the impression that we can also call any law enforcement agency of choice and orally notify them of the activity (be it TF or any other activity that we deem requires "immediate attention"), even prior to filing the SAR. Filing it before calling them makes sense, though, because then you could just read it to them and make sure you're not violating any other regs. But in our institution the pre-filing review process can take weeks, and for situations that require "immediate attention," it does not appear appropriate to wait until the SAR is filed. We just make sure that we know we ARE going to file, and precisely which transactions we are going to describe in the SAR, before we call law enforcement. Besides, we always call before filing so we can add the contact person's information in the appropriate field on the SAR. Otherwise your SAR would say that you have not reported the activity to law enforcement, then, immediately after filing, you might be orally reporting it to law enforcement by phone. Do any of you believe we are in the wrong for orally reporting the intended contents of a soon-to-be-filed SAR?
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#1048527 - 09/23/08 06:44 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Maytagman
WonderWoman Offline
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gone fishin'
You would be outside your safe harbor. I don't know if your Legal Beagles would like that ...
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#1048538 - 09/23/08 06:50 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR WonderWoman
Maytagman Offline
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"The safe harbor also includes communications pertaining to the filing of the SAR or its contents, not merely within the institution but also with government authorities. These protected communications include more than reports of suspicious activities. They include conversations or communications that may have begun by testing the waters and led to the filing of the SAR."
http://www.bankersonline.com/articles/v09n05/v09n05a2.html

I know I've seen something along the lines of "whether reported in writing, orally, or otherwise" somewhere....
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#1048547 - 09/23/08 06:55 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Maytagman
Maytagman Offline
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May 24, 2004 Interagency Advisory:

"The Whitney court ruled that a bank may not produce documents in discovery evidencing:
• the existence or contents of a SAR;
• communications pertaining to the filing of a SAR or its contents;
• communications with government authorities that led to the filing of a SAR or in preparation for the filing of a SAR;
• communications that follow the filing of a SAR intending to explain or clarify the SAR; or
• the existence or content of oral communications to authorities regarding suspected or possible violations of laws or regulations that did not lead to the filing of a SAR."
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#1049016 - 09/24/08 01:21 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Maytagman
Retread Offline
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Maybe I should rephrase my prior post. Sometimes we do have situations where we contact law enforcement prior to filing a SAR. However, those communications are limited to the restrictions in the RFPA. We give them a name, an account number, and a general description of the suspicious activity, but no specifics. We also tell them a SAR is in process. Once we verbally contact law enforcement about a SAR, that SAR becomes a priority and will be filed with FinCEN ASAP with a copy to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
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#2044346 - 10/15/15 01:27 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Paris
SmallBank2 Offline
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I know this is an old thread but it's the only one I could find - I'm wondering about current practices for this type of situation?

When/whom can we contact to bring further/more immediate attention to an initial and continuing activity SAR filing? FinCEN directly? Local law enforcement? No one? What are the parameters of information we can share? I appreciate any insight!

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#2044349 - 10/15/15 01:32 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Paris
Daisy Doodle Offline
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We called the local FBI office once. All we told them was who we were and that we had filed a SAR on thus and such date that we wanted to call immediate attention to. It was funny in a way because it still took them several days to access the info, because the 'guy who usually worked with SARs' was out of the office. But hey, we tried.

I would not think the local police would have access to SAR data, maybe I'm wrong on that.

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#2044367 - 10/15/15 02:00 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR SmallBank2
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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The boundaries for the "safe harbor" are established with the SAR filing, not a telephone conversation. I suggest you file the SAR first, but the philosophy set out in vintage post 1049016 above remains accurate.

If you think the situation actually is urgent, then file the SAR promptly and wait for the confirmation, i.e. assignment of the DCN. Then, contact the law enforcement agency that has subject matter jurisdiction with a sketch of the fact situation laid out in the SAR and provide the DCN you received. Federal law enforcement agencies have direct access to the data base. State and local law enforcement agencies have indirect access through something called the "Gateway System." If either has the DCN, finding the SAR is a no brainer.

I would stop right there, knowing I had exceeded my legal requirements and had actually done my civic duty.

The vagaries begin when the law enforcement agency says it takes too long to get the information from the system and want you to provide them with the SAR and the supporting documentation NOW! Keep in mind that the SAR data base has internal controls ( the Gateway System is an example) on access. When you dispense information directly you have subverted those internal controls.

I simply would not provide a copy of the SAR on request, but sometimes bankers get excited and they do things I would not do. As an aside, if you want to report a crime, then report a crime, don't just file a SAR.
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#2052325 - 12/03/15 06:09 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Elwood P. Dowd
happyauditor Offline
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Originally Posted By Ken_Pegasus

If you think the situation actually is urgent, then file the SAR promptly and wait for the confirmation, i.e. assignment of the DCN. Then, contact the law enforcement agency that has subject matter jurisdiction with a sketch of the fact situation laid out in the SAR and provide the DCN you received.


Ken, so in this scenario what would you enter in the law enforcement contact fields (date/name/agency, etc.) on the SAR? Would you leave them blank since you are notifying law enforcement after the SAR was filed?
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#2052407 - 12/03/15 09:21 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Paris
John Burnett Offline
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I would not complete that field unless I had already contacted LE. A lot can happen between submitting the SAR and finding the time to contact LE, and it might not get done. If you later have reason to file a corrected or 90-day follow-up SAR, complete the field then, if the contact occurred.
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#2052419 - 12/03/15 10:00 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Paris
happyauditor Offline
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agreed
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#2052449 - 12/04/15 01:24 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR happyauditor
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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From the instructions:

Item 92 - LE contact agency: Enter the name of the law enforcement agency, if any, which has been informed of the suspicious activity.

They are asking you what you have done, not what you're a fixin' to do.
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#2052458 - 12/04/15 01:55 PM Re: Contacting Law Enforcement Regarding a SAR Paris
happyauditor Offline
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Thanks Ken, I agree.
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