FinCEN: Suspected Terrorist Financing, Money Laundering up in 2010

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said suspicious activity reports (SARs) categorized as Terrorist Financing and BSA/Structuring/Money Laundering rose considerably in 2010 compared with 2009. Terrorist Financing SARs rose 30%; Money Laundering filings, after declining in 2009, increased 9%.


The SAR Activity Review—By the Numbers, Issue 16, said total filings to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) database in 2010 increased 3.5%. The overall increase was driven by a 12% rise in the number of SARs originating from non-depository institutions. The semiannual report said filings by non-depository institutions represented 47% of all 2010 SARs, up from 44% in 2009.


Depository institutions actually reported 3% fewer SARs than in 2009. Bucking the overall decline in this category was a 4% increase in reports from depository institutions whose primary federal regulator is the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Reports from depository institutions that the NCUA does not oversee declined.


Mortgage Loan Fraud (MLF) SARs rose 5% in 2010. MLF SARs have increased every year since 2001, and reports from 2009 and 2010 represent 39% of all MLF SARs filed since 2001. Reports of Computer Intrusion fell 26% after the same category saw a 52% jump from 2008 to 2009.


Filings from Money Services Businesses (MSBs) increased 12% to an all-time high of 596,494 SARs in 2010. Gaming establishments posted a 16% increase in filings to 13,987. Card Clubs alone saw a 180% rise, from 252 references in 2009 to 707 in 2010.


FinCEN also released The SAR Activity Review—Trends, Tips & Issues, which focuses primarily on foreign corruption, including identifying and reporting on suspicious activities involving senior foreign political figures. The “Trends & Analysis” section leads with an overview of corruption-related SAR filings covering 2009 and 2010, followed by articles that take a more focused look at aspects of these filings.


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