The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (BSA) was enacted to prevent white collar crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion, or other financial crimes. The BSA requires financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions, and other depository institutions, to assist government agencies and report any suspicious practice that might indicate criminal activity.
One of the most notable requirements of the BSA is to report any cash deposit of $10,000.00 or more. These transactions are reported by the bank either as Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) or Cash Transaction Reports (CTRs). In many instances, such a report may result in a complete forfeiture action with respect to the account(s) involved. A forfeiture means that any account balance will be taken by the Government pending a resolution of the matter—your due process may come later.
Financial structuring, also known as “smurfing,” is the practice of cashing checks or making smaller multiple cash deposits, where transactions are broken down so as to fall under $10,000.00 in an attempt to avoid the bank's reporting of the transaction. This is both a criminal offense and a civil offense.
If you deposit cash, checks, money orders, or traveler's checks in the amount of $10,000.00 or more on the same day, the financial institution will likely file an SAR or a CTR. Included in the report will be your name, your account number, your Social Security number, and a history of your financial transactions. The financial institution may not notify you of the report. Your financial history, past transactions, and account history will be analyzed and/or monitored to find indications of any criminal activity.
We can help
Charges of financial crimes such as money laundering or willfully structuring deposits to avoid SAR or CTR reports carry heavy civil and criminal penalties, including the forfeiture of the bank account(s) involved. The Kridel Law Group has considerable experience in handling complex white collar crime and financial structuring cases. Our reputation for strong trial representation and negotiation is evidenced by the successful results we have won in New Jersey and New York. Contact us online or call us at 973-470-0800.