IRS Criminal Investigation: BSA data is key to unlocking financial crimes


Primary subject in nearly 88% of investigations opened by CI in FY23 had a BSA filing

Date: Jan. 17, 2024


WASHINGTON – IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) released investigative statistics on LinkedIn Friday detailing how the agency uses Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data in its financial crime investigations. The primary subject in nearly 88% of investigations opened by CI during fiscal year 2023 (FY23) had a BSA filing. From FY21 to FY23, BSA data was instrumental in securing average prison sentences of 39 months and seizing $7.4 billion in assets tied to criminal investigations. BSA data during this same timeframe also resulted in restitution orders totaling $434 million and forfeited assets totaling $629 million, nearly double and triple the amounts, respectively, from FY20 to FY22.

"Data is the key that unlocks many of the crimes we investigate. Once again, our investigative metrics demonstrate that BSA data proves invaluable in exposing financial crimes tied to COVID relief programs, skimming investigations, employment tax fraud and more," said CI Chief Jim Lee.

Under the BSA, financial institutions must notify the federal government when they encounter instances of potential money laundering or tax evasion. Of the CI investigations that originated from BSA data in FY23, 77% used information from suspicious activity reports, and 63.6% used information from currency transaction reports. Additionally, 16.5% involved fraudulent Small Business Association loans tied to COVID relief programs, 7.1% involved skimming where the primary subject steals funds from a business or charity and 4.7.% involved employment tax fraud where taxes due were not paid.

CI is the law enforcement arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI is the only federal law enforcement agency with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a nearly 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.