The Value of FinCEN Data


Magnifying Glass in Front of Bookshelf

Financial data, collected from financial institutions by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), has proven to be of considerable value in money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes investigations by law enforcement. When combined with other data collected by law enforcement and the intelligence communities, FinCEN data assists investigators in connecting the dots in their investigations by allowing for a more complete identification of the respective subjects with information such as personal information; previously unknown addresses; businesses and personal associations; banking patterns; travel patterns; and communication methods.

FinCEN’s Law Enforcement Awards

Every year, FinCEN holds its Law Enforcement Awards ceremony, which recognizes successfully prosecuted cases. The goals of the program are to recognize those law enforcement agencies that made effective use of financial institution reporting to obtain a successful prosecution and to demonstrate to the financial industry the value of its reporting to law enforcement. The program also emphasizes that prompt and accurate reporting by the financial industry is vital to the successful partnership with law enforcement to fight financial crime. FinCEN receives case submissions from law enforcement for the program, and in all cases, the use of BSA reporting by the financial industry provided highly noteworthy added value to significant investigations. Case summaries for many of the submissions are described in the press releases below:

Search Case Examples Prior to 2015 Using the Drop-Down Menu Below

State Coordinator's Case Example (Embezzlement) | Schemes and Scams, Casinos and Card Clubs
Proactive Bank Secrecy Act Search Leads to Arrest in Ponzi Scheme | Involving SARs, Involving CTRs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
SAR Identifies Suspects Involved in a Nigerian Advance Fee Scam | Involving SARs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
Suspicious Activity Report Initiates Investigations into Fraud, High-Yield Investment Schemes; Egmont Exchanges Lead to Foreign Accounts and Asset Seizures | Involving SARs, Fraud, Involving CTRs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, Casinos and Card Clubs, Tax Crimes
Suspicious Activity Reports “Extremely Helpful” in Structuring Conviction Related to International Lottery Scheme | Involving SARs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations
Credit Union’s Suspicious Activity Reports Lead to Arrest of Corrupt Utilities Employees | Involving SARs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations, Corruption
SAR Referral Leads to the Discovery of a $100 Million Mortgage Fraud and Foreclosure Rescue Scheme | Involving SARs, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, Tax Crimes
Proactive SAR Review Identifies Retired U.S. Military Officer Involved in Bribery Scheme | Involving SARs, Other Crimes, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, Money Services Businesses
Guilty Pleas in International Hedge Fund Fraud Case Initiated from SARs | Broker Dealers, Involving SARs, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
Bogus Life Insurance Investment Vehicles Identified through SAR Filing | Involving SARs, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, Insurance Companies
Former Bank Executive Pleads Guilty to Stealing from the Bank | Involving SARs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
SAR Filing Leads to Identification of Elaborate Ponzi Schemes | Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations
SARs Connect Multiple Subjects to Large Scale Investment Scam | Involving SARs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
Suspicious Activity Reports Aid in Ponzi Scheme Investigation | Involving SARs, Involving CTRs, Schemes and Scams, Casinos and Card Clubs
SAR Leads to Recovery of Funds Derived from Foreign Corruption | Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, Corruption
SARs Help Uncover Bid-Rigging Scandal | Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Other Crimes, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, BSA Violations, Corruption
SARs Identify Huge Check-Kiting Scheme by Auto Dealer | Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, Check Crimes
SARs Help Uncover Scheme to Hide Payments from Drug Traffickers to Buy Vehicles | Narcotics Trafficking, Involving SARs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations
SAR Jump-Starts Investigation into Natural Resources Ponzi Scheme | Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, Check Crimes
Proactive Suspicious Activity Report Review Leads to Guilty Pleas in “Cash Back” Mortgage Fraud Scheme | Involving SARs, Fraud, Involving CTRs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations
Insurance Executive Sentenced in Embezzlement Scheme | Involving SARs, Schemes and Scams, Insurance Companies