WASHINGTON (5/12/11)—While the total number of Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) filed by depository institutions continued to decrease in 2010, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) noted that the percentage of filings from credit unions continued to rise, a trend that first started in 2001. Specifically, the number of financial institutions that claimed the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) as their primary regulator in SAR reports increased by 4% over 2009’s numbers. SARs listing all other regulators decreased, and the total number of SARS filed by financial institutions fell by 3% when compared to 2009’s numbers. Just over nine out of ten financial crimes reported in financial institution-issued SARs were related to some sort of money laundering. Fraud related activities accounted for 26% of SARs filed in 2010, FinCEN said. Fraud related to checks, commercial loans, consumer loans, credit cards, and wire transfer all fell, while the number of debit card and mortgage-related fraud cases increased slightly. Check fraud cases showed the biggest numerical decline, dropping by 12,000 between 2010 and 2009, while commercial loans showed the largest percentage decline: 21%. Reported incidents of money laundering, counterfeiting and terrorist financing also increased during 2010. New York, California and Florida had the highest number of reported incidents. The report also noted an instance in which a credit union’s SARs uncovered a bribery scheme amongst public utilities employees. The credit union’s repeated SAR filings caught the eye of investigators, with a subsequent investigation leading to more than 10 individuals pleading guilty to charges related to soliciting and accepting more than $1 million in kickbacks from a contractor in connection with construction projects, FinCEN said. For the full FinCEN reports, use the resource link.