The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (BSA), also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, is a U.S. law requiring financial institutions in the United States to assist U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering.An entire industry has developed around providing software to analyze transactions in an attempt to identify transactions or patterns of transactions called structuring, which requires SAR filing. Financial institutions are subject to penalties for failing to properly file CTRs and SARs, such as heavy fines and regulatory restrictions, including charter revocation.These software applications effectively monitor customer transactions on a daily basis, and using a customer's past transactions and account profile, pra "whole picture" of the customer to the bank management. Transaction monitoring can include cash deposits and withdrawals, wire transfers, and ACH activity. In the banking industry, these applications are known as "BSA software" or "anti-money laundering software".The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering to promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities. This enables the bureau to carry out its mission by directly and indirectly regulating the financial activities of individuals, businesses, and entire industries. The BSA, through its implemented regulations, also empowers FinCEN with broad discretion to target particular businesses, industries, and geographic locations thought to be at risk for money laundering or illicit finance.Potential PenaltiesUnder the BSA and its implementing regulations at 31 CFR Chapter X, FinCEN may bring an enforcement action for violations of the reporting, recordkeeping, or other requirements of the BSA. Penalties imposed by FinCEN can range from $50,000 in fines for a pattern of negligent activity that violates the BSA up to $1 million in fines for violations involving international money laundering. This is in addition to any criminal penalties that might be imposed by the Department of Justice for willful violations of the BSA and FinCEN administered regulations. Know that a skilled Bank Secrecy Act compliance lawyer can assist those facing these penalties with aggressive legal representation.