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Improving FinCEN through Oversight

29 April 2022

Summary

Yesterday’s “Oversight of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)” hearing was long overdue and many of the members did not let the time go to waste. Getting to the bottom of the effectiveness of FinCEN and the anti‐​money laundering (AML) regime quickly became the theme of the three‐​hour hearing.Representative Jim Himes (D‑CT) opened the hearing by explicitly asking how FinCEN measures and defines success in terms of its enforcement activity. FinCEN Acting Director Himamuali “Him” Das said he could not provide concrete data, but that Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) records have been searched by government officials “over two million times in the last five years” and the data has been used in “tens of thousands of investigations.”Not letting the issue go, Representative Patrick McHenry (R‑NC) then dug in deeper asking, “What percentage of the BSA reports in FinCEN’s monthly database lead to convictions?” Again, Acting Director Das said, “We do not have precise metrics,” but he also noted that, “We have a law enforcement awards program in place [designed] to identify instances in which BSA information has translated into actual prosecutions.” Acting Director Das recognized that the awards program is anecdotal in nature, but he said that it was proof that the information was getting used.

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