The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a unit of the U.S. Treasury Department, reported the first year-to-year decline in suspicious activity reports (SARs) since 1996—a drop from 1.29 million in 2008 to 1.28 million in 2009—but SARs indicating terrorist financing activity increased for the first time since 2004 after several years of steady declines. SARs filed by depository institutions, which include banks, credit unions and thrifts, declined for the first time since 1996 from 732,563 in 2008 to 720,309 in 2009.
The 14th edition of SAR Activity Review—By the Numbers, covering reports filed in 2009, said that SARs indicating terrorist financing filed by depository institutions increased 8% in 2009. Depository institution filers submitted 545 SARs indicating terrorist financing in 2009 and 4,914 total terrorist financing SARs since July 2003 when this category was added. Terrorist financing SARs had steadily declined every year since peaking at 987 in 2004.
FinCEN’s review, which has been issued roughly semiannually since October 2003, also noted large increases in reports of suspected computer intrusion (52%) and counterfeit checks (12%).
The SAR Activity Review is available at tinyurl.com/3a6gy88.
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