Answer by: Barry Thompson
Always file the SAR but contact your local FBI Office as one of their staff coordinates the SAR reports. Let that person know that no action is needed and why.
When filing a report always describe the incident fully! One SAR filed with the FBI stated "Burned Money" with no further description. This type of filing causes problems as a follow-up would definitely be needed by the Bureau and they won't be happy if it requires no action.
When filing SARS in my days as a Security Officer, I would state if further action wasn't necessary. It would still be up to the Government if they want to pursue it.
Answer by: Dana Turner
Has a bank employee counseled this customer about scams that target the elderly? Has anyone met with her attorney to discuss this strategy? Does she have any relatives who could extort money from her? Could a nursing home employee be extorting money from her?
It's unreasonable to believe her "story". Nursing homes bill their clients for services and expenses -- they don't go after their clients' life savings.
While banks may not have a legal obligation to inquire into their customers' withdrawal activities (other than Barry's comments), I believe that we have a moral obligation to investigate customers' activities that are suspicious, strange, unusual, bizarre -- or ones that are out of character for the customer or the account.
As a former police detective who's investigated a lot of similar circumstances, you've made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I suggest that you have the security officer interview the customer -- immediately.
First published on BankersOnline.com 11/5/01