At Times, Too Few Transactions Can Signal Terror Ties, Say Investigators

By Brian Monroe

In the strange and often obscure world of terrorist financing, an account's lack of transactional activity seems an unlikely red flag for anti-money laundering compliance officers. Still, the reuse of inactive or dormant accounts-the definitions of which varies among banks and within state laws-can signal that accountholders have gone abroad to receive training from terrorist groups, according to Dennis Lormel, a former director of the FBI's Terrorist Financing and Operations Section. The FBI has in the past requested sweeping data from banks on inactive accounts, he said. Investigators found that terrorist cells in the United States have opened corporate accounts...