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#2033716 - 08/14/15 03:58 PM Employee structuring - SAR ?
Calmeida12 Offline
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We have a branch employee that has withdrawn cash within the last week:
08/04/15 - $9,000.00
08/07/15 - $9,000.00
08/13/15 - $9,000.00
When questioned, she stated that she is having a pool built and she's making cash installment payments to get a discount. She didn't think that she was structuring!
Would you file a SAR? And if you do, do you terminate her job since she is an employee? Any input is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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#2033724 - 08/14/15 04:04 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
MagicCity Offline

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Absolutely Yes! To both.. SAR and termination.
How could she think she wasn't structuring?

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#2033740 - 08/14/15 04:26 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
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This makes me wonder a couple of things.

1) what's her position with the bank? Has she been trained on the topic of structuring?
2) She's having a pool built? Is the pool installation person requesting these "structured cash amounts?" It's possible this person instructs clients to do this offering a "discount" if they pay cash, under the CTR threshold. Hmmmm

I'm not sure how an employee (as the subject of a SAR) would remain employed. That would be tough to explain.
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#2033755 - 08/14/15 04:53 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
Calmeida12 Offline
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To answer your questions:
1)Personal banker crossed trained in providing teller services. Trained on an annual basis.
2)The pool builder gave her a discount if she paid in cash but not in a specific amount or frequency. I asked that question too, in case the builder was asking her to structure. Still, no excuse from her part even if he would have asked. According to her, she just decided that an amount of $9,000 in cash would be a good amount, didn't think anything of it.....

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#2033769 - 08/14/15 05:54 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
MagicCity Offline

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How long has she worked in banking?

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#2033787 - 08/14/15 06:22 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
Calmeida12 Offline
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She's been with our bank since 2006 but had been in banking prior to that. HR has never had any issues with her. The money in her account has been an accumulation of her and her husband's payroll. She has volunteered to giving us the pool proposal invoice and even have us drive to her house to see that there is an actual pool in construction. Are there any other solutions to this? Thank you.

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#2033796 - 08/14/15 06:33 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
John Burnett Offline
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There have been some opinions here from people who don't know your teller or her relationship with the bank as well as you do. If you think your teller was structuring, your bank should file a SAR. If you don't think she was structuring, note your thoughts and don't file. As to the employment question, that again is up to the bank, and even the SAR filing would not necessarily be a slam dunk termination unless your employee policies mandate it.

As much as we out here may think we have the answers and our responses sound "black and white," there is room here for subjectivity.
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#2033804 - 08/14/15 06:47 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
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I think there would be some push back if there was no filing, just based on what I have seen from examiners. As far as the termination I agree with John.
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#2033808 - 08/14/15 06:51 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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If you decide not to file a SAR, explain why in writing and be prepared to back it up with a straight face. That assignment would exceed my abilities.
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#2033813 - 08/14/15 06:55 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
MagicCity Offline

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No SAR would be a hard sell with an employee from 2006 and prior.

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#2033830 - 08/14/15 07:35 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
bcompliance Offline
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If it wasn't an employee would you file? That's how I would look at it. Just because they are employed with you doesn't give them a "free pass" so to speak. I personally would file in that case.
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#2033873 - 08/14/15 09:08 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
John Burnett Offline
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And I have to admit, after feeling bad if she was truly ignorant of what she was doing, I'd probably file the SAR, too. It's too much of a stretch not to. But after some counseling and a probation notice, I might keep her on as an employee.
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#2034026 - 08/17/15 05:08 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
happyauditor Offline
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I would also ask her when the installment payments were due. She withdrew the funds on 8/4, 8/7, and 8/13. Perhpas if the $ was due on those days (or the days after each w/d), she was merely taking out the funds as needed as opposed to taking out $27,000 at one time and walking around with that large amount at once.

That may make you get a better sense if she was structuring or not.
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#2034028 - 08/17/15 05:12 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
Pat Patriot Act Offline
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Originally Posted By Calmeida12
She has volunteered to giving us the pool proposal invoice and even have us drive to her house to see that there is an actual pool in construction. Are there any other solutions to this? Thank you.


I can't emphasize this enough: TAKE HER UP ON THIS OFFER!. Don't just get the "proposal" estimate, get the final invoice handed to you from the contractor himself and notarized by the Governor. Heck, pull all the permits you can. Numbers alone make this look like an obvious case of structuring; but if your research could show otherwise, you'd have strong backup to support it. Paying for contractors in 1/3's as the job progresses is not unusual.

Last edited by patsfan; 08/17/15 05:13 PM. Reason: Didn't realize I couldn't say "H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!!!"
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#2034034 - 08/17/15 05:51 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
HappyGilmore Offline
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Pulling people out of the ditc...
agreed about the payment in 1/3 increments to contractors, but can pools be built in a period of 9 days?
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#2034930 - 08/20/15 06:04 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
Scribby Offline
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My two cents:

the FFIEC defines structuring as: A person structures a transaction if that person, acting alone, or in conjunction with, or on behalf of, other persons, conducts or attempts to conduct one or more transactions in currency in any amount, at one or more financial institutions, on one or more days, in any manner, for the purpose of evading the [CTR filing requirements]." "In any manner" includes, but is not limited to, breaking down a single currency sum exceeding $10,000 into smaller amounts that may be conducted as a series of transactions at or less than $10,000.

I firmly believe, "For the purpose of evading reporting" has meaning and merit. The FFIEC went further to cite examples of where structuring should not be assumed but instead, perform further review and research to determine whether anything could be suspicious. It's not illegal to withdraw $9,000 three times. It is if it were for the purpose of evading reporting rules.

If I were the employee, and I wasn't structuring, and was terminated or written up because of a suspicion, i'm very confident there would be a plethora of wrongfull termination attorneys out there that would take my case on a contingency basis.

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#2034935 - 08/20/15 06:17 PM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Scribby
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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I'm thinking the employee would be fired for violating bank policy, not structuring.
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#2035010 - 08/21/15 12:45 AM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? Calmeida12
PrimeTime Offline
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Since we're already on the topic, I'd like to present a different situation, and while the results may be the same, it's the approach I'm looking to gain some insight for.

Employee structuring deposits this time, not withdrawals, and surveillance footage obtained has shown it was truly the employee rather than other other account holder that is conducting transactions. Without throwing out numbers or dates, I'll just say it's crystal clear that this activity is in fact structuring.

It should also be noted that there is documentation regarding said employee receiving training that defines structuring, therefore acknowledging that they're well aware of the law, and this isn't some random chance.

What is the best approach to take, other than the filing of the SAR? How does the bank terminate the employee based on a violation of policy (if structuring is even indicated in said policy)? Would you state "you've violated bank policy regarding structuring of deposits, dont let the door hit you", or is there another way to go about this?


Termination of the employee to me would obviously result in the employee becoming aware of the bank's knowledge of the activity, and although it would not be stated to the employee, it would likely be assumed there was a SAR filed. Would this conflict with the safe harbor? I'm thinking no because assumptions would not hold up in court to my knowledge.

My confusion regarding this topic is that when a non-employee customer is structuring, the normal process is to file the SAR, and not contact the customer, therefore this conversation with the employee would go outside the normal process for handling a structuring situation.
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#2035015 - 08/21/15 11:18 AM Re: Employee structuring - SAR ? PrimeTime
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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If an employee strikes a co-worker he is not going to be fired for "assault and battery." If an employee structures transactions, she is not going to be fired for "structuring." Both of those things are crimes. They are punishable by society, not employers.

I do not understand your fact situation, but if an employee was trained and did something completely contrary to what she was trained to do, that's the basis for discharge. While respondents here are oftentimes quick to recommend termination for violations of BSA's requirements, this is definitely not the best forum for obtaining advice about how to do it.
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