The United States has numerous laws designed to keep track of your money. These laws impact money such as cash, banking transactions, and credit cards.
U.S. banks are required to keep records of all account transactions and provide their customers’ records to federal law enforcement under the Bank Secrecy Act. A bank must also file Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) anytime it receives or gives out over $10,000 in currency. The government also requires banks to file “Suspicious Activity Reports” when the bank believes that a customer’s deposit is suspicious. The definition of suspicious is not precise. I represented a small business owner who deposited between $9,000 – $9,700 in currency on numerous occasions. The bank filed over 60 Suspicious Activity Reports over a two-year period. As a result, the person’s business and home were searched by several gun toting agents under the mistaken belief that the person was a drug dealer.
Many people would rather not have their bank file a CTR and so divide up deposits to avoid the bank filing a CTR. What is not commonly known, however, is that this is a serious federal crime that is punishable by imprisonment and subjects the bank account to forfeiture.
A person can be convicted of illegally structuring a currency deposit if the government proves that the person knew that by dividing a deposit the CTR would not be filed. The government does not have to prove that the bank customer knew that it was illegal to divide the deposit. The government should require banks to post a notice so that customers will be informed of the law and not commit a serious felony due to ignorance.
Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A.
17 East Pine Street
Orlando, FL 32801
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