The Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced today that Barnett Banks,Inc. (Barnett) has agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve charges thatit failed to file reports required by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).Barnett is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida withapproximately 600 branches, located throughout Florida andGeorgia.
The charges concerned Barnett’s placement of twocustomers on its large currency transaction reporting exemptionlist in 1987 (which was discovered during a routine examinationof Barnett in 1989 by the Office of the Comptroller of theCurrency), and its failure to aggregate a commercialcustomer’s same-day cash withdrawals between 1993 and 1995(which was discovered during an Internal Revenue Serviceexamination in 1995). The errors were corrected after theirdiscovery. The settlement was influenced by Barnett’sotherwise strong record of BSA compliance, and by itslong-standing record of cooperation and assistance to federal andstate law enforcement authorities.
The BSA requires banks and other financial institutions tokeep records and file reports on currency transactions in excessof $10,000 and to institute preventive programs to safeguardagainst abuse of its financial services by customers. These BSAreporting and recordkeeping requirements are extremely useful tothe government’s efforts in criminal, tax and regulatoryinvestigations and proceedings. The authority of the Secretary ofthe Treasury to administer the BSA is delegated to the Directorof FinCEN.
FinCEN Director, Stanley E. Morris, commended theTreasury’s Internal Revenue Service and Office of theComptroller of the Currency for their assistance and commitmentto ensuring BSA compliance at Barnett.
Federal financial regulators, including the Office of theComptroller of the Currency and the Internal RevenueService’s Examination Division, routinely examine financialinstitutions under their jurisdiction to ensure compliance withthe recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the BSA. Whensignificant BSA deficiencies are discovered by a federalfinancial regulator, the matter is referred to FinCEN. Onceadvised that criminal investigation is not warranted, FinCENbegins its own civil investigation, seeks additional informationfrom the regulator and/or institution, determines the appropriatesanction, if any, and works with the institution to reachagreement on the sanction and measures to ensure future BSAcompliance.
"BSA compliance throughout the financial servicescommunity is of enormous importance to law enforcement in itsfight against financial crime," said Morris."Information collected under the BSA is a valuableinvestigative tool and vigorous enforcement underscores thesignificance Treasury places on BSA compliance.