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FinCEN Sees Significant Jumps in Funnel Account SARs in 2014
Thursday, October 15, 2015 6:50 AM

Funnel account activity was the standout trend in Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filings in 2014, according to the latest report from the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The agency's second annual SAR Stats report, based on SARs filed from March 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2014, highlights how FinCEN uses SARs to track criminals through their use of the financial system.

FinCEN defines a funnel account as an account that receives multiple cash deposits, often in amounts below the cash-reporting threshold, and from which funds are withdrawn in a different geographic area with little time between deposits and withdrawals. According to their report, funnel account activity in 2014 was mentioned almost 10,000 times in SARs. The same references occurred no more than 123 times in 2012 and 2013.

Trends on the rise include false identity theft claims (up 1,800 percent from the 2012-2013 period), false statements (up 122 percent from 2012-2013) and circumvention of Chinese currency regulations (up 112 percent from the 2012-2013 period).

Fraudulent use of a Social Security number, suspicion about the use of funds, income discrepancy, identity fraud, and employment discrepancy were the top reporting themes in 2014 among depository institutions. Each had a “noticeable increase” in 2014. Other trends, including excessive cash payments, origination fraud, and prepaid card fraud, saw decreases in 2014.

FinCEN also has launched an advanced SAR Stats database, searchable by industry type, date, suspicious activity type and others.

CUNA’s Bank Secrecy Act Conference, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nov. 15-18, will feature a presentation from FinCEN on SARs and their importance, as well as other security and compliance updates.