Interagency Transfers of Financial Records
Financial records may be transferred to another federal agency under 12
U.S.C. § 3412 only if an official of the transferring agency certifies
writing that there is reason to believe that the records are relevant to a
legitimate law enforcement inquiry of the receiving agency. In addition,
14 days after any transfer, the customer must be notified of the transfer
the government has obtained, in connection with its original access or at
time of the transfer, a court order delaying notice under the provisions of
U.S.C. § 3409.|
Transfer restrictions do not apply to intra-departmental transfers
the FBI or DEA may transfer financial records to United States Attorneys'
or to the Department's litigating Divisions without restriction). Also
from the Act are transfers between any agency or department and the Attorney
General, if the agency certifies that: (1) there is reason to believe that
records are relevant to a criminal violation, and (2) the records were
in the exercise of its supervisory functions. 12 U.S.C. § 3412(f)(1).
Attorney General may only use the records to investigate or prosecute
violations, and must return them to the agency when the investigation or
prosecution is completed. 12 U.S.C. § 3412(f)(1).
In addition, post-notice is only required for transfers between
federal departments; the Act does not restrict transfers of financial
records from state or local government agencies to federal agencies or from
federal to state agencies. Neither does the Act cover transfers of
records between a federal agency and an agency of a foreign government.
note that 12 U.S.C. § 3413(g) expressly excepts from post-notice the
of account identification information obtained pursuant to that subsection.
Please note that the transfer restrictions of 12 U.S.C. § 3412 do
apply to records obtained pursuant to any of the Act's exceptions,
including § 3413(a) [records not identifiable with a particular
§ 3413(c) [records required to be reported by statute];
[records obtained pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil or Criminal
§ 3413(f) [records obtained pursuant to an administrative subpoena
an administrative law judge]; § 3413(g) (account identification
and § 3413(i) [grand jury subpoenaed records].
Practice Note: Caution is required in connection with transfers
between state and federal agencies as the Congress clearly intended that
and local agencies not be used as sub-agents of federal agencies to
the restrictions of the Act. Transfers that would create an appearance of
impropriety should be avoided. If, for example, a State agency offers
records to a federal agency without being requested to do so or if records
previously obtained by a state agency are provided in response to a federal
inquiry, the transfer does not create an appearance of impropriety. If,
financial records obtained by a state subsequent to a federal inquiry are
transferred to the requesting federal agency, there would be an appearance
abuse, if the timing and circumstances of the transfer were such as to
that state officials were merely acting as sub-agents of federal officials
purposes of circumventing the Act.
Note that the Act is interpreted not to require a second post-notice to
customer when records are re-transferred from the transferee to the original
Suggested forms: Form DOJ-474 certification for transferring records and
DOJ-476 customer notice of transfer.