This SAR concerns unusual cash activity and possible attempt to avoid reporting requirements by a client in excess of $200,000 in a 45-day period. Activity is not consistent with the Customer’s stated business of on-line T-shirt & apparel sales. Customer made successive deposits of cash between $4,000 and $9,500 at 4 different Gotham City branches, consisting of $10 and $20 denominations, using several depositors who provided inconsistent explanations for deposits.
This narrative identifies the five essential elements of information in three sentences.
- Who: Customer who has a t-shirt business
- What: He is structuring cash to avoid reporting requirements
- When: Over a 45-day period
- Where: Four different branches
- Why (why is this activity strange): This isn’t consistent with his business
Keep in mind, if you are using a transaction monitoring system, like BAM+, this information will be easy to identify and will make your investigation much easier. BAM+ uses machine learning to identify suspicious activity and provides transparent and easily explainable details of any suspicious activity. This type of transparency provides users with the ability to easily pinpoint why a transaction is suspicious and will ultimately save you lot of time and resources during an investigation.
As an investigator, be wary of “black box” solutions that may be highly complex and risky. “Black box” solutions must be fully understood, and as a financial crimes officer you must be able to easily justify why the software determined the activity to be suspicious, in order to avoid scrutiny from regulators and be successful in writing effective SARs.
To get more tips on writing effective SARs, read Part II of this blog, 5 Tips to Remember When Writing a SAR Narrative or watch our thought leadership webinar, Best Practices for Writing SARs. Elliott Casey, Staff Attorney for the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council, discusses how SAR teams operate and provides real world examples of SARs that are helpful and SARs that are not. Elliott is an experienced SAR reviewer and specializes in money laundering, narcotics, and complex white collar offenses.
For more information about how Abrigo BSA/AML software, BAM+ can reduce false positives and make your investigations more efficient visit our product page or speak with one of our experts.