What Is Suspicious?

What is “Suspicious”?

A Suspicious Activity Report (SAR-MSB) must be filed by a covered money services business when the MSB knows, suspects or has reason to suspect that the transaction or pattern of transactions is both:

  • Suspicious, and
  • $2,000.00 or more ($5,000.00 or more for issuers reviewing clearance records).

A suspicious transaction is one or more of the following:

  • Involves funds derived from illegal activity, or is intended or conducted in order to hide or disguise funds or assets derived from illegal activity (including, without limitation, the nature, source, location, ownership or control of such funds or assets) as part of a plan to violate or evade any Federal law or regulation.
  • Is designed to evade BSA requirements, whether through structuring or other means.
  • Appears to serve no business or apparent lawful purpose, and the MSB can determine no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining all available facts, including the background and possible purpose off the transaction.
  • Involves the use of the money services business to facilitate criminal activity.

As an MSB, it is important to remember your role and responsibility. You are not the accuser, judge, jury and executioner. You are merely (and importantly) identifying suspicious activity – it may potentially be criminal or the proceeds of criminal activity. But that is to be determined by others who receive and analyze the information you provide as required by law.

Remember too that the filing of a SAR is confidential. There are laws and penalties for “tipping off” someone that a SAR has been filed against them. Further, your “safe haven” is only maintained by keeping the information confidential.