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Subject: Suspicious Activity Report
Date: June 24, 2003
To: Chief Executive Officers and Compliance Officers of All National Banks, Department and Division Heads, and All Examining Personnel
Description: Revised Form
Pursuant to 12 CFR 21.11, all national banks, as well as all federal branches and agencies of foreign banks licensed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), are required to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) when they detect a known or suspected violation of federal law or a suspicious transaction related to a money-laundering activity or a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act. Beginning July 1, 2003, national banks and federal branches and agencies may begin using the revised SAR form attached to this bulletin. Banks and federal branches and agencies may continue using the existing SAR form while their procedures and systems are updated, but must start using the revised form by January 1, 2004. The revised SAR form is available on the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Web site.
The revised form contains three changes from the previous version:
Preparers should refrain from using the "Other" box if it would be more appropriate to use either the "Terrorist Financing" or "Identity Theft" box. Examples of when use of these boxes would be appropriate are included in the "SAR Activity Review – Tips, Trends and Issues" (February 2003), and additional information concerning terrorist or other criminal financial activity is included in FinCEN's "SAR Bulletin No. 4" (January 2002). Both of these documents are available on the FinCEN Web site.
If a bank has a match with a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) or Foreign Terrorist Organization on the Specially Designated Nationals list published by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the bank should review the account and any related activity. If the bank discovers anything suspicious, the bank should file a SAR in accordance with the regulation and the instructions on the form.
FinCEN's SAR Bulletin No. 4 provides various indicators and patterns of activity that could be associated with funds collection related to terrorist financing and the movement of funds related to terrorist financing.1 Some of the indicators and patterns of activity noted in the bulletin include the following:
FinCEN's SAR Activity Review notes that it would be appropriate to select the "Identity Theft" box in instances in which a person is suspected of having:
In addition, occurrences of identity theft or suspected identity theft may increasingly be the result of bank insider or employee misconduct. Examples of when it would be appropriate to select the "Identity Theft" box include situations where a bank employee or insider has:
Questions about the revised SAR form may be directed to your OCC supervisory office or the Compliance Division at (202) 874-4428. In addition, questions regarding use of the "Terrorist Financing" or "Identity Theft" boxes may be directed to the Enforcement and Compliance Division at (202) 874-4800.
David G. Hammaker
1The bulletin points out that taken individually, the indicators do not necessarily equate to terrorist or other criminal financial activity. Combinations of indicators should raise the level of concern about potential terrorist financing or other criminal context.