The Justice Department, which already requires banks to alert on customers who make withdrawals of large sums of cash, is now suggesting they go a bit further in the fight to uncover financial shenanigans – call the police, one blogger reported.
Simon Black, an investor and financial blogger, wrote of a “senior official from the Justice Department [speaking] to a group of bankers about the need for them to rat out their customers to the police,” at Sovereignman.com.
Infowars.com then reported assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell actually pressed banks to “alert law enforcement authorities about the problem” of suspicious customers who withdraw $5,000 or more so that police might “seize funds” or “initiate an investigation.”
Aside from withdrawing large amounts of cash, suspicious activity can also be defined as “transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more,” Black wrote, citing the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council.
The idea isn’t as left-field as it sounds.
Banks are already required by federal law to fill out “suspicious activity reports,” or SARS, on customers who engage in perceived questionable behaviors, including transactions involving thousands of dollars in cash. The SARS program is aimed at rooting out potential terror-tied activities, as well as those possibly connected to drug dealing and other criminal endeavors.
The federal government doesn’t give explicit directions to banks on what constitutes all the possible reasons to fill out a SARS report – but financial institutions face hefty fines and punitive measures if they are determined to have failed to abide the reporting obligations in cases that lead to criminal activities.