A little more than two years ago, investigators for a large state got a letter from a U.S. Treasury agency notifying them that the suspicious activity report they had accessed a few weeks earlier had also been viewed by a district attorney's office in another state. That letter, from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), saved both agencies "thousands of hours of work and allowed both jurisdictions to leverage resources and strengthen their respective cases" involving a complex financial crime, said one of the investigators at the large state. FinCEN "which is responsible for a database of tens of millions...
A $120 million upgrade to the U.S. Treasury Department's database of Bank Secrecy Act reports is roughly 50 percent complete, after the bureau overseeing the project finished work on its new search engine.
In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Treasury Department's financial intelligence unit had one overriding objective: to better share its cache of Bank Secrecy Act data with investigators.
Possible budget cuts for the U.S. financial intelligence unit are spurring concerns that the bureau may curtail its funding of the Internal Revenue Service's anti-money laundering examinations, say current and former federal officials.
Planned budget cuts that would limit cooperation between regional investigators and the U.S. Treasury Department's financial intelligence unit would be nixed under the latest congressional appropriations bill.
A proposed funding cut that would restrict some governmental access to a U.S. Bank Secrecy Act database could also make it harder for state examiners to vet banks and money services businesses, say critics of the plan.