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The GAO reported on its review of the implementation of the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970's reporting requirements. The GAO assessment is that the Act's reporting requirements have not been as useful to Federal law enforcement efforts as was intended. The Act's implementing regulations require three reports: (1) the currency transaction report; (2) the report of international transportation of currency or monetary instruments; and (3) the report of foreign bank, securities, and other financial accounts.
The GAO found that these reports have not been widely used by Federal law enforcement and regulatory investigators. Furthermore, it is uncertain how well financial institutions and individuals are complying with the Act's reporting requirements.
The Department of the Treasury and other responsible agencies have initiated several measures in the last two years that should correct many of the problems related to implementation of the Act's reporting requirements. The GAO believes that, in addition to recent efforts, other actions are needed for the Act's reporting requirements to achieve their intended purpose. These actions relate to: (1) allocating the staff necessary to carry out the Act; (2) revising data dissemination guidelines; (3) strengthening compliance enforcement and monitoring efforts; and (4) developing the information necessary to make a comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits of the Act's reporting requirements.
The GAO believes that the next 2 to 3 years are crucial to demonstrating the contributions that the reporting requirements can make. If the agencies involved cannot demonstrate that the usefulness of the reports justify the costs, then the Act's reporting requirements should be repealed.