Justice Department Rolls Out An Early Form Of Capital Controls In America

Tyler Durden's picture

Something stunning took place earlier this week, and it quietly snuck by, unnoticed by anyone as the "all important" FOMC meeting was looming. That something could have been taken straight out of the playbook of either Cyprus, or Greece, or the USSR "evil empire", or all three.

This is how the WSJ explained it:

The U.S. Justice Department’s criminal head said banks may need to go beyond filing suspicious activity reports when they encounter a risky customer.


“The vast majority of financial institutions file suspicious activity reports when they suspect that an account is connected to nefarious activity,” said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell in a Monday speech, according to prepared remarks. “But, in appropriate cases, we encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem.”



The remarks indicate that banks may be expected to do more than just file SARs, a responsibility that itself can be expensive and time-consuming.


Some banks already have close relationships with law enforcement, said Kevin Rosenberg, chair of Goldberg Lowenstein & Weatherwax LLP’s government investigation and white collar litigation group. Ms. Caldwell’s remarks “speak to moving forward in a more collaborative way,” said Mr. Rosenberg.


A tip-off from a bank about a suspicious customer could lead law enforcement to seize funds or start an investigation, Ms. Caldwell said.

What does this mean, and why is it so critical? Simon Black of International Man explains:

* * *

Justice Department rolls out an early form of capital controls in America

Imagine going to the bank to withdraw some cash.

Having some cash on hand is always a prudent strategy, and especially today when more and more bank deposits are creeping into negative territory, meaning that you have to pay the banks for the privilege that they gamble with your money.

You tell the teller that you’d like to withdraw $5,000 from your account. She hesitates nervously and wants to know why.

You try to politely let her know that that’s none of the bank’s business as it’s your money.

The teller disappears for a few minutes, leaving you waiting.

When she returns she tells you that you can collect your money in a few days as they don’t have it on hand at the moment.

Slightly irritated because of the inconvenience, you head home.

But as you pull into your driveway later there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for you: two police officers would like to have a word with you about your intended withdrawal earlier…

If this sounds far-fetched, think again. Because it could very well become a reality in the Land of the Free if the Justice Department gets its way.

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.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that banks are already unpaid government spies.

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.

This may be a very early form of capital controls in the Land of the Free. This is the subject of today’s Podcast. You can listen in here.

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ShrNfr's picture

Of course, anyone who keeps 5 grand in a bank is nuts to begin with even without this bullshit.

nopalito's picture

Possession is nine-tenths of the law, especially when the bank has your money.

knukles's picture

Yeah, so what I wanna know is whatever happened to the NORKS who hacked into SONY and caused the entire free world Ethernet infrastructure to be on the precipice of the end of days and downfall of mankind.  Ranks right up there with that video that started the Benghazi killings.
Damn it, we need to know how the NORKS have been punished, wiped off the face of the earth, never to be seen again, don't darken the door of my humanity.
Oh Barackosan only you can save us.

I'm gonna get a Hybrid decal for my Jag and show the NORKS what it's all about.  Dam right, never gonna buy a drop of NORK gasoline again.

RU-GAY2's picture
RU-GAY2 (not verified) knukles Mar 20, 2015 2:30 PM

"some banks already have close relationships with law enforcement"

And the majority of ZH readers, Fed-collaborators love it that way.  Bitcoin has no law enforcement connections.

franzpick's picture


New Revised Edition.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Remember to keep your precious metals in your local bank's safe deposit box!  It'll be there when you most need it, for sure.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Everyone should make it a habit to withdraw $5K in cash five times a week and redeposit it quickly. That will keep the police busy.  Also, for you home business people, give your businesses arabic names to keep the investigators even busier. 

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

That's a good idea. Too bad last time I did that I instantly spent the money. I did just withdraw 3k last week, teller didn't bat an eye, asked me how I wanted it and handed it to me, and this what as a BofA in FL, no questions asked. I've taken out that amount or a little more several times a year and never had a single question asked. Granted, 3-4 k isn't asking for 10, or 25, but still. I hate BofA and will leave them eventually, but I would think they would be one of the places asking people a lot of questions. Anyone else had any of these experiences?

aVileRat's picture

In the subprime crisis, large volumes of russian and scilian black cash were laundered through the last days of the Florida subprime bond & housing stocks. If I were someone looking at the froth, I too would be worried that existing FINRA and UN AML reports may not be properly monitoring or capable of enforcing the various forms of end-cycle money laundering.

The second reason DoJ could be seeking stronger criminal enforcement is they may be civic-facing agents, but they remember the hit department cred took when their largest fish (including the Flash Boys) got off by loopholes in criminal procedure/standards of doubt tests in house. Given market froth, and DoJ's experience in limited acts (aside from RICO) to bring market arrests, allowing DoJ to have a method to apprehend criminal activity pretending to be excessive speculation is a good ass covering mechanism. Esp given the huge cries of 'free Corzine' which have persisted for the past 4 years from key market moving trend setters. :)


As a fun weekend assignment, did any ZH's notice the chart porn in PTJ's TED talk ? You don't need a cipher to see where he got those ideas circa October 2014 ZH.




Socratic Dog's picture

Pull cash out every payday, never been asked why, disappointingly, the "whores and blow" excuse is forever on the tip of my tongue.

I've been waiting for this, with a slight variation: she gives you the $5k, you drive away, pulled over 30 seconds later, the cash confiscated.  It would seem like the logical next step, based on current practices, and "notifying law enforcement" is the necessary mechanism.  Combine notification with cell-phone tracking, and you're going to need to carry a battle rifle any time you pull out 50 bucks.

Next to come: gold coin dealers need to notify law enforcement about supicious transactions, such as the purchase of gold coins.

They hate us for our freedoms.

whotookmyalias's picture

I like to go to the ATM, take out $800 (my maximum), then walk in the bank and ask to change it into hundreds.  This is true, I've done it probably 2 dozen times in the past few years.  When they ask me about it or if I have an account, I say no but I just got the money out of your ATM.  I'm probably on some watch list somewhere.


My coin dealer won't sell more than $1000 worth of anything for cash and if you try going back in a day or two later they literally have blood vessels pop in their foreheads.  Not that I have a coin dealer. I'm making this up as I go.

Self-enslavement's picture
Self-enslavement (not verified) whotookmyalias Mar 20, 2015 4:45 PM

The Jews would never rat anyone out. Never.

GetZeeGold's picture





Bitcoin has no law enforcement connections.


Heh heh......it's like having a transmitter up your wazzoo.


The cool thing about Bitcoins is that if you ever get lost....in theory you could phone the NSA...and they could tell you exactly where you are. Plus or minus 12 inchs.


No...I don't know what that is in centimeters.

Self-enslavement's picture
Self-enslavement (not verified) GetZeeGold Mar 21, 2015 10:05 AM

The justice Department is run by Jewish criminals. It should be called the Injustice department. Why don't they investigate the Federal Reserve, Wall Street and Silicon Valley? Because they're parasitic criminals, that's why.

RU-GAY2's picture
RU-GAY2 (not verified) GetZeeGold Mar 21, 2015 1:11 PM

Hey, isn't if funny that the ZH 'tards never seemed to worry about a "Carrington event" when placing their orders with AMEX using digital credit cards?  Or their digital transactions to buy dinner?  Or their digital transactions for.....<anything else in the past 40 years>

Phucking mental rejects.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Your coin dealer won't do over 1000 in cash? Sounds like it's time to find a new coin dealer

Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

Coin dealers should do up to 10k or  move on


Self-enslavement's picture
Self-enslavement (not verified) Its_the_economy_stupid Mar 21, 2015 10:08 AM

People with large sums of cash are honest hard working citizens.
People with large sums in their accounts are parasitic thieving Jewish dual-citizens.

RU-GAY2's picture

People with large sums of cash are morons waiting to get ass-raped by Yellen wearing a dildo.

MeBizarro's picture

Depends on the area but yeah that strikes me as being very odd too.  You figure at least 10k in cash give or take even if they only maybe $700-$1k loose in a cash register with the rest in safe. 

August's picture

Even Canadian dealers will take $3,000 in cash with no ID or reporting.

If a dealer won't take more than $1,000 in cash, shop eleswhere.

El Vaquero's picture

Why are people concerned over whether it is $1k or $10k that dealers get pissy over?  $1 or $10,000,000, it's none of the government's business at all, period.  The government will tell you different, but fuck them.

Self-enslavement's picture
Self-enslavement (not verified) El Vaquero Mar 21, 2015 10:11 AM

Exactly. The Goverment steals our money by the $Trillion$ but we are not allowed to monitor or arrest THEM.

DeadFred's picture

You comment on ZeroHedge, of course they have a file on you.

whotookmyalias's picture

Yep, that's the irony of the comment.

GetZeeGold's picture





It's like good advice....that you just didn't take.


Martian Moon's picture

Kitco was raided in Canada a few years back


Since then photo ids are required to open an account and buy anything

Psquared's picture

I seriously doubt $5,000 withdrawals at the teller window of American banks is how Russian and Sicilian mobster schemes operate.

Zero Point's picture

Took out my whole savings (in cash) a while ago, and had the bank ask me for 2 grand for extra security.

I threatened to call the press, and they relented, but boy they made it hard. The manager had me signing shit for almost an hour (and this was AFTER I had already booked the whole thing in advance).

I bet they registered me as some kind of offender with the feds.

Sadly the whole lot was lost in a tragic boat accident, and now I have nothing.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

And you will be a tertiary objective when they round up the guns and hard assets.  Who knows, that early withdrawal may entitle you to a trip to 'extra special fun-camp'.

Crash Overide's picture

Banks are obsolete... we don't need them anymore, they need us to leverage 100 to 1, while they are sticking it in our ass they get rich.


Fuck em.

DJ Happy Ending's picture

With NIRP becoming the new normal, I'd say they don't need us.

TeethVillage88s's picture

The FED Created Moral Hazard with 6 Years of ZIRP/LIRP & QE after the gave special unlimited loans and got Congress to Give away TARP/TRAP.

Janet Yellen: after 6 years of manipulation you don't seem to have a plan and don't seem to have straightened out the Global Economies that were Messed up by US TBTJ Banks.

How do you Plead, Guilty or Not Guilty??

We really don't care Chairmen Yellen if you are new to the Post. We want straight talk about 6 years of bending over backwards and set up Moral Hazard and providing Incentives to TBTJ Banks.

How do you Plead, Guilty or Not Guilty??

sessinpo's picture


Banking has existed throughout the very same changes and wars we are facing now. Have you learned nothing yet Crash Overide?


Shad_ow's picture

Good idea.  Even better idea, everyone withdraw $4,999. each week and put it somewhere other than a bank.

conscious being's picture

A few years ago I got a check from my broker, drawn on B of A. I went to the nearby BofA and tried to cash the check. After making me wait around forever, the teller and manager reappeared and told me to come back tomorrow. I went back all the way back the next day, just to hear the boss man say No. I wanted the cash because I was leaving in a few days and wanted to avoid the wire transfer fees. Obviously, I'm a criminal.


boattrash's picture

20 yrs. ago I sold some VW parts to a mechanic, that used B of A.  I had no account there, and they asked for a thumbprint to cash the damn check.

I asked for the manager, the teller said he was gone to lunch.

I said, "I hope he fuckin' chokes to death".  I sure like my little home-owned bank.

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

"...Even better idea, everyone withdraw $4,999. each week..."

Well, maybe.  I believe that's called "structuring."  A technique to avoid/circumvent reporting requirements and it is likewise illegal, now.   FD:  I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on television.

It is interesting to note that structuring was devised by the peeping Tom perverts after they realized people innovated around their ridiculous SAR rules.  Makes you wonder how people will innovate around structuring rules.  

Grumbleduke's picture

No need for innovation, just knowledge.

Start here:



Silky Johnson's picture

I'll answer the question of what I'll do with MY money, after the teller answers the questions of, if her pussy is shaved and if she likes it in the shitter?

Chupacabra-322's picture

For the Tri Fecta ask her if she also goes & likes ATM. Porn industry lingo for Ass To Mouth.

bracemaker's picture

Anyone know if these "rules" apply to credit unions as well?

I better lock up my dog..

overmedicatedundersexed's picture
2 unqualified protection to financial institutions and th eir employees from civi l liability for filing a SAR. 2 The federal district court in Whitney sided with the majority of courts that have interpreted the safe harbor provision to afford unqualified protection to fina ncial institutions and their employees from civil suit. In the Whitney case, individuals filed a defamation suit against a bank, claiming that the bank wrongfully accused them of illegal lending activity when it filed a SAR. In the suit, the individuals sought disc overy of any oral or written communications the bank may have had with law enforcement con cerning their suspected illegal conduct. The individuals did not seek a copy of the SAR b ecause a clear provision of the Bank Secrecy Act prohibits such disclosure to the people who ar e reported in the SAR, so instead they sought information from the bank about any disclosu res it may have made to law enforcement surrounding the possible filing of a SAR. Several of the federal financial institutions supervisory agencies jointly filed a brief with the court ar guing that a financial institution that reports suspected crimes should not be subject to discovery of its communications with law



you do not have the right toknow your accusers the law is above the law

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

Just another clean and clear example of the former 'rule of law' broken.  We're heading toward a scenario where a rational person who HAS NOT committed a crime will shoot to kill anyone coming to arrest or detain them.

Why take the chance that one will not get the opportunity to speak with a lawyer, or be held indefinitely without charge or trial, or go through a mockery of a kangeroo-court sham?

boogerbently's picture



Boogeymans everywhere !

Shaznardickleze the Doon's picture

You obviously haven't been paying much attention to ignorantly and snidely make such a comment. 

A Nanny Moose's picture

Civil forfeiture is 11/10ths of the law.

boattrash's picture

...and Colt balances the equation.