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Old 01-11-2012, 01:51 PM   #1
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Why 308,127,404 Americans Are Going To Get Hosed

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-...oing-get-hosed

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Submitted by Simon Black from Sovereign Man

Why 308,127,404 Americans Are Going To Get Hosed

Last week, the US government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency of the US Treasury Department, published its 2011 annual report. There are a few numbers that are pretty startling.

We’ve discussed before that FinCEN is the executive agency tasked with ensuring that every US banker is an unpaid government spy through Suspicious Activity Reports.

A Suspicious Activity Report, or SAR, includes details of any transaction that may be deemed ‘suspicious’. Naturally, there’s no clear guidance on what is/is not considered suspicious. Banks, brokerages, money service businesses, precious metals dealers… even casinos are required by law to fill them out.

If you withdraw an unusual amount of cash from your bank account, that could be deemed suspicious. If you set up a new payee in your billpay service, that could be deemed suspicious. Anything and everything is fair game.

Banks and other businesses who do not fill out SARs face hefty penalties, including imprisonment. If they disclose to a customer that s/he is the subject of a SAR, they have hefty penalties, including imprisonment.

When push comes to shove and they have to choose between a nasty penalty, or submitting a SAR about your unusual cash withdrawal, which option do you think they’ll pick?

Unsurprisingly, nearly 1.5 million ‘suspicious activity reports’ were filed across the US banking system in 2011, well over twice the number reported in 2004. On top of this, there were an additional -14.8 million- ‘currency transaction reports’ filed in 2011, a 6% jump over last year.

It’s an unfortunate trend which highlights not only the end of financial privacy, but also the massive amount of data being collected by the government to keep tabs on its citizens.

According to this year’s report, a full 36 distinct federal law enforcement agencies requested information from FinCEN (and even more who haven’t). Three dozen. And that doesn’t include state or local law enforcement.

That there are this many federal law enforcement agencies to begin with is mind-boggling… let alone the thought that some knucklehead at the Fish and Wildlife Service has access to bank records.

This is one reason why international diversification is so important– the likelihood of such collection and monitoring is greatly reduced when you bank overseas. Moreover, should one of these dozens of agencies or courts decide that your ‘suspicious activity’ warrants locking you out of your accounts, they have zero jurisdiction overseas.

This is a common tactic in the US; financial activity is one of the many, many areas with a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ burden of proof. You don’t even need to be doing anything wrong (which is the case most of the time this happens) for one of these agencies to freeze your account ‘pending investigation’ with a simple phone call. Good luck getting it unfrozen.

They don’t have that kind of pull overseas. That’s why we’ve been writing for years to more than 100,000 subscribers that the most important thing you can do for your financial security is to have a foreign bank account, no matter where you’re from. Planting a ‘banking flag’ outside of your home country is a very prudent, simple insurance policy.

More and more people are starting to wake up to this reality. FinCEN also tracks the Report of Foreign Bank Account and Financial Accounts, commonly known as the FBAR. This form is required to be submitted by any US taxpayer with foreign financial accounts whose aggregate total exceeded $10,000 at any point during the year.

For example, if you have a bank account in Uruguay with $9,000, and a small brokerage account in Panama with $2,000, you would have to submit the form by June 30th of each year to the Treasury Department.

In 2011, 618,134 US taxpayers filed an FBAR (which would have covered the calendar year 2010). This is more than a 100% increase over the filings just two years ago… a huge jump. I suspect the 2012 figures will show similar growth.

As a percentage of the population, though, the number is embryonic. It still leaves 308,127,404 Americans who have no backup plan, no insurance policy for their hard-earned savings. In other words, 99.8% of the population holds all of their money in an insolvent, corrupted, government-controlled, unsecured (though cleverly disguised) banking system.

Are you one of the 0.2% who is paying attention? If not, what’s holding you back? I’d like to know.
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:25 PM   #2
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Foreigners from many countries understand this simple truth. Lessons learned from their histories. Argentines of moderate means often open accounts in Uruguay or Paraguay for example.
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:12 PM   #3
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It's getting harder to stash money overseas though. Just in the past year or two, most foreign banks will not let Americans open accounts in their countries because of the hassles they have to deal with the American .gov. You know, if they want to do any banking in or with the USA...
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:04 PM   #4
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How would you even find a good oversea bank? The only ones I can think of are the Euro-giants like Credit Suisse, UBS, etc who probably would submit to the .gov so that they can keep operating in the US.

Then if you do keep some overseas and your US assets get frozen, how would you even access the foreign stuff other than leaving the country?
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dontdeBasemebro View Post:
Then if you do keep some overseas and your US assets get frozen, how would you even access the foreign stuff other than leaving the country?
Probably better not to store savings in banks.
Keep just enough to meet 3 months regular outgoings.
Convert everything else into tangible assets, some of which is easily convertible to cash, should it be necessary.
Priority to food, water, shelter, warmth, health, rather than cash in the bank.

Then all we have to worry about is legal right of ownership law and its enforcement.

Even this gets messy in a proper SHTF as evidenced by most war situations where populations have to move away for long periods of time, then find their property occupied by others when they return.

Best not to own anything then
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:28 PM   #6
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I think most things that assume you can mitigate risk in "this" paper by using some "other" paper are kind of missing the point. Maybe if you're worried about banks and paper trails, the answer is just avoid banks and paper - wherever they are.

One thing we should have learned is just how interconnected this web is - how many CDS this guy sells, that everyone else owns. Who owes who in that spectacular graphic about euro debt - everyone owes everyone. Globalization - another word for "no safe harbor on the globe". Who knows if the foreign equivalent of FASB 157 etc is in play there too, and they are also marking to unicorn like we are? Oh yeah, the banks there are still calling sovereign debt full value. So they're doing it too.

I suspect that in any honest accounting, very few big banks have a book value that is a positive number at all - I have to laugh when people were saying look BAC is trading below book. Well, sure, below heavily cooked (authorized) book, sure, but the real book? I kind of doubt that.

Banks hate guys like me. In the rare cases I borrow money - I pay it back lump and very early. I only keep enough cash there to handle the bill flow, and for me that's pretty tiny. The rest is elsewhere, though I have a large trading stake in and out of the markets at present. I've already set up how to pull cash out of that very fast (two mouse clicks) if I think the time is right, and most of my net worth is in things other than cash anyway. The gov might consider trying to confiscate my gold, or my guns (which wouldn't be easy to find necessarily) but they're not hauling off my tractor or my water system - or my tools, anytime soon.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:19 PM   #7
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Banks? FUCK the banks! That's why we all have PM's in our possession!

When [not if] capital controls are instituted here [with the reporting requirements, they really and truly already are] we will be in the same boat as Greece.

Fuck 'em and feed 'em fish heads I say. Protect yourselves with shiny metal. No need to ship your stuff to some other country that collapses when we do, and confiscates your stuff because they can. Just hold your metal.

If you can't touch it, you don't own it.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:10 PM   #8
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@ dontdeB,

If you DID have a foreign account, you could always get an ATM card... So, as long as the US banks and / or ATMs were still running, and you needed access to your dough, well there's $500 / day available.
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:45 PM   #9
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OK let me first say that I am not here to play devil's advocate or get into an argument about the Big Brother nature of these reports or that these reports could be filled erroneously on someone that is not guilty of anything but I would like to shed some light on this subject.

Quote :
A Suspicious Activity Report, or SAR, includes details of any transaction that may be deemed ‘suspicious’. Naturally, there’s no clear guidance on what is/is not considered suspicious. Banks, brokerages, money service businesses, precious metals dealers… even casinos are required by law to fill them out.

If you withdraw an unusual amount of cash from your bank account, that could be deemed suspicious. If you set up a new payee in your bill pay service, that could be deemed suspicious. Anything and everything is fair game.

These reports are filed in an effort for these business' to try and prevent money laundering by criminal enterprises, to prevent financial elder abuse, to prevent Identity thieves from stealing your money, to prevent funding to known terrorist organizations, and to stop bank fraud rings. I read a report that was saying the Mexican drug cartels were responsible for approximately 5% of bank fraud in the US, just something to consider. Also, there are millions of victims each year of financial crimes and filing a SAR is a way to start an investigation into these activities. I just saw a commercial that said banks in the US lost something like 13 billion dollars because of criminals committing all kinds of bank fraud in one year. The banks are liable for that kind of activity unless the perpetrator is a family member or a known associate of the victim, in which case unless charges are pressed, the victim is responsible for the monetary loss.

By saying, "there is no clear guidance on what is deemed suspicious," is a VAST understatement. People committing these types of crimes (like ID theft, wire fraud, and money laundering) often follow similar patterns and in most cases it is not just one single transaction on an account or a bill payee being added to an account that makes it suspicious, there are several indicators that in conjunction with one another make it suspicious. Of course there is a judgmental aspect of what makes something suspicious so sometimes an incompetent banker may file this kind of report when there is really nothing going on that is shady, but many times there really is something going on.


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Unsurprisingly, nearly 1.5 million ‘suspicious activity reports’ were filed across the US banking system in 2011, well over twice the number reported in 2004.
There are many reasons why the amount of SARs could have doubled since 2004. First of all, the economy. As the economy worsens crime rates typically increase. People begin to do more and more desperate things in order to keep food on the table for their family. Criminals need to hide their ill-gotten earnings somewhere so money laundering increases. Bank fraud also rises in economic bust times because of people just wanted to survive and thinking it's a victimless crime. Also as technology gets more and more advanced, the ways that perps commit these crimes also becomes more sophisticated, so banks and these other businesses have to try and counter these crimes by increasing the ways that they detect fraudulent/criminal activity.

Also, I understand the 1.5 million SARs does seem like a big number but consider this. The title of the article makes reference to the fact there are 300+ million people in the US. How many financial dealings does the average US citizen on do with their bank a year? Let's go with a minimum of one a month. That’s 3.6 billion transactions each year, so one million SARs doesn't seem that big of a number anymore. Of course one transaction a month with one's bank is grossly underestimated for the average American, so just imagine the sheer volume of activity each year vs. the amount that gets reported in a SAR. And that’s just for banks, when you start including casinos, PM dealers, money service business's (Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal, etc.) and brokerages, the numbers start stacking up where the 1.5 million is not a big number. Then one should also think about the fact that it doesn't say 1.5 million people were reported on a SAR, multiple SARs could be filed on the same person. So really it's a very small percentage of activities that are reported.

I do agree with diversification though. It's good to have your savings spread out if you hold fiat, but I recommend having a healthy portion of your savings in tangibles close at hand, even if it's just land. Also, thinking that Non-US banks don't have this type of reporting is just wrong. They do and they work hand in hand with banks in the US and government entities to try stop funding to international criminal enterprises, international bank fraud rings and known international terrorist organizations. Ever heard the saying "follow the money"? Well, they have too.

I completely understand that people feel it is a privacy issue with these reports being filed but there really is just cause for it pretty often. Like I said I'm just putting this out there for you all to consider, so please no death threats.
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:02 PM   #10
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My own small town banker risked jail to tell me what are the triggers for SARS. It's not all innocent/law enforcement - you just need to see the classified parts of the patriot act and the provisions that say people who are required to provide info without a warrant can be jailed if they tell the people in question that they did.

The triggers are far below what the drug boys are interested in, and are only "vague" because telling us what they are is against the law. What more could you need to know?

If a man is not setting out to do evil, he doesn't hide his work under a basket and blow out the candle.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:37 PM   #11
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So.. mind sharing that info on triggers?
Example, I went to the bank just before Christmas and withdrew 2k cash. And of course the teller 'jokingly/innocently' asked what it was for. I lied and said it was for a trip to the casino while I was with family over the holiday. This wasn't my largest purchase this year, but it was the largest cash withdraw I had made in 2011. Before he would give me my money, and before he had asked what it was for, he had to get permission from a supervisor or a manager (a 3rd party) to do the transaction, as he put it, "So that HE would be allowed to do the transaction".

In 2010 an alert friend of mine made 4 purchases of survival food over the course of a year. ~3k per purchase. All on his debit/checking account. Are purchases like this, basically at his card's single purchase limit, flagged and SARS'd?

In 2008 I bought a truck. The day I did the deal I went and took out 6.5k cash. There was a small circus in the back and about 3 people standing on the other side of the counter when the money was finally being counted out and put in my hands.

So basically, what the fk gives? I have seen different things from different banks of the same banking company. 1000 and no big deal. 1500 has gotten me different things between branches. 2000 same story, and see above. 6k+ and they might as well have had a guy with a gun carrying the money out of the safe in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:55 PM   #12
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When a Moneybomb (hey I can't help it, that Ron Paul ad is JUST ABOVE this reply box) lands in my account, I go over and collect money.

Very typical for me is pulling $1500 - $3000. When it's $3000, they have to call over the Head Teller, but no big deal. If I am going to Peru, I use that as an excuse (I always take money to Peru, there's lots of worthwhile stuff to buy there). One teller already knows about my interest in gold, she is thinking about it...
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by KMS View Post:
...
In 2010 an alert friend of mine made 4 purchases of survival food over the course of a year. ~3k per purchase. All on his debit/checking account. Are purchases like this, basically at his card's single purchase limit, flagged and SARS'd? ...
SARS reports are for cash transactions. Debit/checking cards are electronic transactions and leave records of what you are doing by their nature.

The government/banks are trying to force people into abandoning physical cash in favor of electronic banking exclusively. Gives them more control (can spy on your activity) and allows them to play with monetary policy (bank credit <> physical cash) without fear of deflation / banking collapse.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:08 AM   #14
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From Simon Black, without pertinent details (names/sources), so, not sure if serious:
Quote :
...
Earlier this week, a senior official from the Justice Department spoke to a group of bankers about the need for them to rat out their customers to the police.
...
Federal regulations in the Land of the Free REQUIRE banks to file ‘suspicious activity reports’ or SARs on their customers. And it’s not optional.

Banks have minimum quotas of SARs they need to fill out and submit to the federal government.

If they don’t file enough SARs, they can be fined. They can lose their banking charter. And yes, bank executives and directors can even be imprisoned for noncompliance.

This is the nature of the financial system in the Land of the Free.

And chances are, your banker has filled one out on you—they submitted 1.6 MILLION SARs in 2013 alone.

But now the Justice Department is saying that SARs aren’t enough.

Now, whenever banks suspect something ‘suspicious’ is going on, they want them to pick up the phone and call the cops:

“[W]e encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem, who may be able to seize the funds, initiate an investigation, or take other proactive steps.”

So what exactly constitutes ‘suspicious activity’? Basically anything.

According to the handbook for the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, banks are required to file a SAR with respect to:

“Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more…”

It’s utterly obscene. According to the Justice Department, going to the bank and withdrawing $5,000 should potentially prompt a banker to rat you out to the police.
...
http://www.silverdoctors.com/justice...ls-in-america/
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Old 03-23-2015, 12:10 PM   #15
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Amusing story, if not completely pointless hysteria. From my experience in the banking sector, the government are looking for terrorist funding, money laundering, and criminal enterprises such as human trafficking (all three I have seen caught by SARs).
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:44 AM   #16
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Classic example of a slow boiling frog. There is zero outrage over this publicly.
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