Thread Options
#1992346 - 01/29/15 09:42 PM Subject Identification for SAR Reporting
PrimeTime Offline
100 Club
PrimeTime
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 173
I might really be overthinking things and making matters more complicated than they should be, however I recently came across a case a situation that made me question the SAR filing guidelines.

The FFIEC Guidance states that federal regulations require SAR filing with respect to:

-Criminal Violations aggregating $5,000 or more when a suspect can be identified

-Criminal Violations aggregating $25,000 or more regardless of a potential subject


What constitutes subject identification? Gut instinct says "if you've identified the name of a person", however I think it can also be interpreted as "identified to the point where all critical fields on the SAR regarding subject information can be filled". This is due to a potential filing where the subject is a non-customer, and the information for all critical fields is incomplete.

The FFIEC manual itself is rather cut and dry regarding this, I was wondering if there was an guidance released by FinCEN on this, or if anyone had a take on it?
_________________________
Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
-Albert Einstein

CAMS

Return to Top
BSA/AML/CIP/OFAC Forum
#1992350 - 01/29/15 09:50 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting PrimeTime
John Burnett Offline
10K Club
John Burnett
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 39,416
Cape Cod
You don't have to know his/her mother's maiden name and blood type (sorry, couldn't resist) to name a subject if you believe you know who it is. You provide the info you have, as sketchy as it might be.
_________________________
John S. Burnett
BankersOnline.com
Fighting for Compliance since 1976
Bankers' Threads User #8

Return to Top
#1992353 - 01/29/15 09:58 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting PrimeTime
PrimeTime Offline
100 Club
PrimeTime
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 173
You mean I've been collecting all that information for no reason?!

That's kind of the gray area we're in though, because like you stated "if you believe you know who it is". If the subject isn't our customer, we don't know them. With a violation such as say, check fraud, how do we truly know that the individual(s) cashing the checks aren't using fake names, as we don't have any information to say otherwise?

I do understand your point though, if there's a violation occurring, the information we do have is better than no information at all.
_________________________
Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
-Albert Einstein

CAMS

Return to Top
#1992412 - 01/30/15 01:48 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting PrimeTime
John Burnett Offline
10K Club
John Burnett
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 39,416
Cape Cod
Clearly, the more information you can include in the SAR, the better. My point is that you should not leave a subject out or delay your filing solely because you don't have info for every data field on the SAR.
_________________________
John S. Burnett
BankersOnline.com
Fighting for Compliance since 1976
Bankers' Threads User #8

Return to Top
#1992423 - 01/30/15 02:14 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting PrimeTime
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
10K Club
Elwood P. Dowd
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21,939
Next to Harvey
At the top of the "Subject" page of the SAR there is a box that is to be checked if "all 'critical' subject information is unavailable. All, critical information...

By implication, if your bank has any critical information (any field with an asterisk), do not check the box at the top of the page. Instead, fill in the critical field with the information you have. If all the bank has is a last name, they want it. If all the bank has is a street address and city, they want it.

Don't try to be a gatekeeper on this issue; if you have the information, give it to them without debating its value.

If you have any of the critical information, then you have at least the essence of a subject and can look at the dollar thresholds accordingly. This isn't a process where a metaphysical approach is helpful and if some reviewer says he thinks you filed a SAR that was not required, that's a comment, not a criticism.

_________________________
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
#1992426 - 01/30/15 02:30 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting PrimeTime
PrimeTime Offline
100 Club
PrimeTime
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 173
Great, thank you both for your input!
_________________________
Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
-Albert Einstein

CAMS

Return to Top
#2046207 - 10/26/15 08:09 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting PrimeTime
MassCompliance4 Offline
New Poster
MassCompliance4
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 24
MA
If I may revive this older thread and ask a follow-up question: For checks that are presented for payment against/drawn on our customer's account and are deemed to be fraudulent, do we need to file a SAR if all we have is the name of the payee? Like the OP stated above, we don't even know if that name is real or otherwise. Is it appropriate to file only when the check is or when a series of checks aggregate to $25,000? In other words, is it acceptable to say that we don't have a suspect even though we have the name of the payee?

Return to Top
#2046278 - 10/27/15 11:45 AM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting MassCompliance4
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
10K Club
Elwood P. Dowd
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21,939
Next to Harvey
"Reviving" related threads tells your potential respondents that you at least tried to find the answer and is helpful to all concerned. Thank you. grin

There is no published "rule" about whether you have a SAR subject when all you have is a name on a check or a wire transfer, a name that is likely to be fictitious at that. In the absence of an official rule, I suggest you do not make a rule of your own; i.e. you should include the information to allow law enforcement to perhaps connect the dots between your SAR and those filed by other banks involving the same names.

Clearly, considering that the identification of a name is the identification of a subject will increase the number of SARs you file.
_________________________
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
#2046284 - 10/27/15 12:20 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting PrimeTime
MassCompliance4 Offline
New Poster
MassCompliance4
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 24
MA
Thank you Ken for responding! To your point, that answer will necessitate an increase in the number of SARs we file for "Check Fraud" and that won't sit well with my business line as they have already said that their practice has been to only file when the check or series of checks reaches $25,000 and that they don't consider a payee name only a "substantial basis for identifying a suspect" as worded in the SAR Guidance. But I will run your guidance up the flag pole and see where it lands.

Also, we here in Massachusetts are looking forward to hearing you speak again at this year's BSA/AML Workshop next month!!

Return to Top
#2046289 - 10/27/15 12:37 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting MassCompliance4
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
10K Club
Elwood P. Dowd
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21,939
Next to Harvey
Only a TIN would be a more substantial basis for identifying a subject than a name...

I suggest you submit your question to FinCEN via e-mail and note their response when they call you back. Then, deliver the result (whatever it might be) to your audience. They're not going to accept an opinion they don't like if it only comes from me; people only accept my opinions without question when I agree with them.

See you in a few weeks. wink
_________________________
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
#2046538 - 10/27/15 08:45 PM Re: Subject Identification for SAR Reporting PrimeTime
happyauditor Offline
Platinum Poster
happyauditor
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 809
NY
OCC examiner said all payees of checks should have a subject page on the SAR (assuming the check activity is suspicious).
_________________________
* My opinion is not necessarily that of my employer.

Return to Top

Moderator:  Andy_Z