Suspicious Activity Reports – Taking your Elder Financial Abuse Investigations to the Next Level

Suspicious Activity Reports – Taking your Elder Financial Abuse Investigations to the Next Level
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-06-23
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Suspicious Activity Reports
Unit 2 Transcript: Suspicious Activity Reports
Unit 3 Workbook: Suspicious Activity Reports
Unit 4 Recording: Suspicious Activity Reports

Webinar Video Clip: Suspicious Activity Reports – Taking Your Elder Financial Abuse Investigations to the Next Level


The multi-disciplinary approach required when handling Elder Financial Exploitation (EFE) cases has been established in this previous webinar. In this session, the discussion will revolve around the tools, particularly the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), that can be utilized to aid investigation and prosecution of elder financial abuse.

This course’s speakers are Rich Goldberg, Andrea Higgens, and Jenefer Duane. Rich is the Senior Counsel for Complex Litigation for the U.S. Department of Justice, Consumer Protection Branch who coordinates the department’s Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force. Andrea is a Criminal Elder Abuse Investigator with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office in Northern California, training and working alongside various stakeholders to better recognize and respond to elder abuse. Finally, Jenefer is the Senior Program Analyst in the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where she leads various efforts to combat elder abuse.

Points covered in this webinar include:

  • The US-DOJ’s efforts in the elder justice arena through the legislation of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EPPA), the creation of an Elder Justice Coordinators (EJC) role, and the rollout of various interagency enforcement initiatives.
  • Topline statistics on elder financial abuse, the common victims, perpetrators, and the qualities that make older adults vulnerable to it.
  • The unfamiliarity of investigators to the elements involved in EFEs.
  • What Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) are.
    • Bank Secrecy Act mandate relating to SARs and the investigative value of SARs.
    • Filing, accessing, requesting, and the process involved in the use of SARs in investigations.
    • A glimpse into a sample SAR and the information that may be obtained from it.
    • Scope and limitations, and best practices when utilizing SARs.
    • Facts and figures realized through SARs data that highlight the means through which EFE is done, the severity of the issue, and the prevalence of suspicious activities.
  • The obligation of the various stakeholders to protect vulnerable adults by ensuring EFE cases are investigated and prosecuted, and the abusers held accountable.
  • Miscellaneous resources through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to:
    • Help educate and mobilize various stakeholders to better address EFE collaboratively.
    • Raise the awareness of older adults and their caregivers on how to make better financial decisions, options they can benefit from, and how to spot potential scams and fraud schemes.

Andrea, Jenefer, and Rich shed light on audience questions relating to:

  • The limitations when it comes to sharing information from SARs.
  • Bottlenecks agencies experience related to acquiring SAR information.
  • How the Freedom of Information Act requests impact SARs.
  • The scope and limitation of what drives a financial institution to trigger the filing of SARs.


This is one of two webinars about Financial Elder Abuse and Fraud.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “The entire webinar was insightful. Information the do’s and don’ts of SARs was very helpful as I was not aware.” — Adrienne
  • “Great presentations. Andrea Higgins did a superior job.” — Steve
  • “I has not heard of SAR’s before, so I will definitely be bringing that up at our next MDT meeting to make sure Law Enforcement is using this tool.” — Catherin
  • “The Questions and Answers on SAR’s and just how important the information of this webinar is to know..excellent presentation.I want more, more, more PLEASE!!” — Christine
  • “Wonderful discussions and presentations. The topic of financial exploitation is important to my work as a First-Party Fraud expert. I joined the meeting to understand how SARs assist and impact the work of Law Enforcement. I am not part of my AML Dept., but I do refer the cases to our AML teams which include elder financial exploration referrals. I would be interested in what Law Enforcement most benefits from in a SAR filing to better provide case synopses to our AML teams filing the SARs.” — Geraldine
  • “I liked the overall coverage of the SAR topic. I use SARs in my investigations and am constantly learning more about them each time. Excellent topic. And to combine it with Elder Abuse, there obviously is a direct correlation between Elder Abuse and Financial Crimes and SARs is a good connector for the two. Thank you to all with were part of this webinar.” — Anthony


Additional Resources
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Investigating Financial Exploitation: New York’s FEIST-y New Approach
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Investigating Financial Exploitation of Older and Vulnerable Adults
Financial exploitation of older adults is occurring more and more across the United States.  Despit […]
5 years ago
Growing and Nurturing Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Teams
Peg Horan and Lindsay Calamia are back on Justice Clearinghouse for the second part of their webinar […]
6 years ago
The Hidden Nature of Elder Abuse
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