Thread Options
#1616723 - 10/18/11 01:19 PM File a SAR? Law Enforcement is already involved
Polo Offline
100 Club
Polo
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 178
I have a question that I hope y'all can help me with.
Recently, the FBI & some other federal law enforcement agencies contacted our bank regarding a new customer of ours. From what we know so far, the customer only had a safety deposit box at one of our branches.
These law enforcement agents obtained a search warrant and the permission of our customer to search her safety deposit box.
They showed up at the bank with our customer in custody and met our attorney with the warrant. They obtained permission from our attorney to remove the box from the premised to conduct their search off-site. (Apparently they wanted their drug dog to be present during the search).
They returned the box to the bank empty, that same day.
Later we heard (through the “Grape-vine”) that they seized around very large sum of cash from the box. The “Grape-Vine”-apparently a local law enforcement employee, unofficially told our auditor that the suspect admitted that she was holding the illegal cash for a known drug dealer. Of course this “Grape-vine” information is not (official) but somewhat reliable.

Anyway, my question is: Is the bank required to file a SAR?
Law enforcement alerted us to this and our customer apparently has not conducted any transactions at the bank (other than placing the money in the box) that would be considered suspicious.
Due to the fact that obviously law enforcement already knows what our customer did and has her in custody and is conducting their investigation to go after the bigger fish, would this activity require the filing of a SAR on the bank’s part?

Return to Top
BSA/AML/CIP/OFAC Forum
#1616760 - 10/18/11 02:15 PM Re: File a SAR? Law Enforcement is already involved Polo
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
10K Club
Elwood P. Dowd
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21,939
Next to Harvey
If a bank finds activity that pulls one of the SAR filing triggers it must file a SAR. That is true even if its customer has already been arrested, indicted, tried, or even convicted at the time the activity is discovered.

However, as I understand it, your bank has yet to discover any suspicious activity; i.e. a thorough review of your records and discussions with your personnel would reveal nothing other than your interactions with law enforcement. Accordingly, your SAR would pretty much read like your post except the details would be more specific.

I do not think a SAR filing is required, but it is likely there will be other opinions.
_________________________
In this world you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.

Return to Top
#1616762 - 10/18/11 02:13 PM Re: File a SAR? Law Enforcement is already involved Elwood P. Dowd
John Burnett Offline
10K Club
John Burnett
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 39,557
Cape Cod
I agree with Ken. After you're done poring over your records related to this customer, decide whether you found anything suspicious in that search. If yes, and if it meets the SAR-filing threshold, exercise your creative writing skills.

If you don't find anything suspicious in that research, document the search and your decision not to file a SAR.
_________________________
John S. Burnett
BankersOnline.com
Fighting for Compliance since 1976
Bankers' Threads User #8

Return to Top
#1616795 - 10/18/11 02:50 PM Re: File a SAR? Law Enforcement is already involved John Burnett
ACBbank Offline
Power Poster
ACBbank
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 4,138
New York City
I'm on board with Ken and John. If there was no suspicious activity in your FI, don't file an SAR.
_________________________
"100 victories in 100 battles isnt the most skillful. Subduing the other's military w/o battle is the most skillful." Sun-Tzu

Return to Top
#1616808 - 10/18/11 03:10 PM Re: File a SAR? Law Enforcement is already involved John Burnett
Polo Offline
100 Club
Polo
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 178
Great advice
Thank you both!

Return to Top

Moderator:  Andy_Z