FinCEN SAR Instructions – What are the filing requirements for suspicious activity?

Compliance > BSA > FinCEN SAR Instructions
Q:  What are the filing requirements for suspicious activity?
 
 
A:  A financial institution must report any transaction that requires reporting under the terms of 31 CFR Chapter X if the transaction is conducted or attempted by, at, or through the financial institution and involves or aggregates at least $5,000 ($2,000 for money services businesses, except as provided in Section 6 of this document) and the financial institution knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that the transaction or pattern of transactions of which the transaction is a part:
 
  • Involves funds derived from illegal activity or is intended or conducted in order to hide or disguise funds or assets derived from illegal activity (including, without limitation, the ownership, nature, source, location, or control of such funds or assets) as part of a plan to violate or evade any Federal law or regulation or to avoid any transaction reporting requirement under Federal law or regulation;
 
  • Is designed, whether through structuring or other means, to evade any requirement of 31 CFR Chapter X or any other regulation promulgated under the Bank Secrecy Act, Public Law 91-508, as amended, codified at 12 U.S.C 1829b, 12 U.S.C. 1951-1959, and 31 U.S.C. 5311-5332;
 
  • Has no business or apparent lawful purpose or is not the sort in which the particular customer would normally be expected to engage, and the financial institution knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts, including the background and possible purpose of the transaction, or
 
  • Involves the use of the financial institution to facilitate criminal activity.
 
Additional Filing Instructions for Banks:   In addition to the above requirements, a bank (as defined in 31 CFR § 1010.100) must file a FinCEN SAR for activity (as required by 31 CFR § 1020.320 and 12 CFR §§ 21.11, 163.180, 208.62, 353.3, and 748.1) involving:
 
  • Insider abuse involving any amount. Whenever the bank detects any known or suspected Federal criminal violations, or pattern of criminal violations, committed or attempted against the financial institution or involving a transaction or transactions conducted through the financial institution, where the bank believes that it was either an actual or potential victim of a criminal violation, or series of criminal violations, or that the bank was used to facilitate a criminal transaction, and the bank has a substantial basis for identifying one of its directors, officers, employees, agents or other institution-affiliated parties as having committed or aided in the commission of a criminal act regardless of the amount involved in the violation.
 
  • Violations aggregating $5,000 or more where a suspect can be identified. Whenever the bank detects any known or suspected Federal criminal violation, or pattern of criminal violations, committed or attempted against the bank or involving a transaction or transactions conducted through the bank and involving or aggregating $5,000 or more in funds or other assets, where the bank believes that it was either an actual or potential victim of a criminal violation, or series of criminal violations, or that the bank was used to facilitate a criminal transaction, and the bank has a substantial basis for identifying a possible suspect or group of suspects. If it is determined prior to filing this report that the identified suspect or group of suspects has used an “alias,” then information regarding the true identity of the suspect or group of suspects, as well as alias identifiers, such as drivers’ licenses or social security numbers, addresses and telephone numbers, must be reported.
 
  • Violations aggregating $25,000 or more regardless of a potential suspect. Whenever the bank detects any known or suspected Federal criminal violation, or pattern of criminal violations, committed or attempted against the bank or involving a transaction or transactions conducted through the bank and involving or aggregating $25,000 or more in funds or other assets, where the bank believes that it was either an actual or potential victim of a criminal violation, or series of criminal violations, or that the bank was used to facilitate a criminal transaction, even though there is no substantial basis for identifying a possible suspect or group of suspects.
 
 
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
This is addressed in the "FinCEN Suspicious Activity Report Electronic Filing Requirements" guide, Attachment C.
 

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