Treasury and FinCEN Lift Moratorium on Information Requests under Section 314(a) of the PATRIOT Act



February 14, 2003

 

On February 6, 2003, the Department of Treasury and its bureau, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), lifted the moratorium on information requests issued under Section 314(a) of the PATRIOT Act of 2001 which was announced on November 26, 2002. (See NASD Notice to Members 02-80 for more information.) Because firms will soon be receiving information requests, NASD is informing members of this development and of certain relevant information.

 

As noted in NASD Notice to Members 02-80, Section 314 authorizes law enforcement agencies to establish a mechanism to communicate with financial institutions to request information about suspected money laundering and terrorist financing. The final rule, effective on September 26, 2002, established a process through which law enforcement agencies can communicate with financial institutions, including broker/dealers, in order to request information regarding those suspected of engaging in money laundering or terrorist activities so that any accounts and transactions involving these individuals or entities can be promptly located.

 

Major Points

 

Firms should be aware of the following:

  • Beginning on February 18, 2003, Section 314(a) requests from FinCEN will be batched and issued every two weeks, unless otherwise indicated in the request.

  • After receiving a 314(a) request, financial institutions will have two weeks, rather than one week, to complete their searches and respond with any matches.

  • Searches will be limited to specific records and, unless otherwise noted, will be a one-time search.
  • If a financial institution identifies a match for a named subject, the institution need only respond to FinCEN that it has a match and provide point-of-contact information for the requesting law enforcement agency to follow-up directly with the institution.

Information concerning how to respond to a request will be disseminated directly by FinCEN to participating financial institutions prior to that date.

 

Questions

 

For further information about this, firms should access: www.fincen.gov or call FinCEN (Regulatory Help Line 800-949-2732). In addition, if you have questions about this NASD Member Alert, please contact Kyra Armstrong, NASD Member Regulation, at 202-728-6962.