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Fraud Cases - Providing Records to Police

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When dealing with fraud cases, how do we determine when we can readily supply documents to the police versus when we would need to be subpoenaed for records? Most recently our cases have involved customers and we have provided the necessary copies for them and the police as it relates to the investigation. However, if we have forgotten a document or if they feel that there are other documents to assist them, can we readily supply them? We do not have copies of the police reports at this time either, though the staff is aware of the investigations.

I would recommend working closely with your legal department whenever you are releasing customer financial information. You should also become familiar with the Right to Financial Privacy Act (RFPA). This Act mainly applies to Federal agencies and states that "no Government authority may have access to or obtain copies of, the information contained in the financial records of any customer from a financial institution unless the financial records are reasonably described" and

  1. The customer authorizes access;
  2. There is an appropriate administrative subpoena or summons;
  3. There is a qualified search warrant;
  4. There is an appropriate judicial subpoena; or
  5. There is an appropriate written request from an authorized government authority.

There are also several exceptions mentioned in this Act - most importantly, financial institutions and their employees have complete immunity from civil liability for the reporting of known or suspected criminal offenses or suspicious activity by filing a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with FinCEN.

First published on 2/21/05

First published on 02/21/2005

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