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Winston Mortain
Winston Mortain, Lawyer.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 665
Experience:  27 years practice of law
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Can a state agency subpoena your bank records without a ...

Customer Question

Can a state agency subpoena your bank records without a reason or you being notified?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 6 years ago.

In general, no.

What specific state agency did this?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Winston Mortain's Post: The division of insurance. Yes, I am a licensed agent, but have been out of the business since October of 2006. I am now receiving a letter from the state questioning insurance transactions of which no complaint has been filed or shown. All of my policies have been paid and no issues ever arisen. This basically comes from a dba I had in which they asked if this entity transacted insurance. It did not. It was a marketing name only. Now a year later they have subpoena my bank records. No one notified me of this including my bank.
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 6 years ago.

If the South Dakota Division of Insurance served a subpoena on your bank, and if no one notified you of the subpoena, how do you know about it?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Winston Mortain's Post: I received a letter from the division this week asking to explain the bank account that they have subpoenad. They are asking about all of the transactions in relation to the business of insurance. No complaint has been filed and most of these transations are not insurance related.
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 6 years ago.

I would contact your bank and demand that they explain to your satisfaction why they released your personal banking records without your permission. If they cannot explain it (other than saying "the subpoena ordered us to"), you should consider taking your businsess to another bank. I believe they had a duty to contest the subpoena, or at least to alert you, so that you could have done so.

An administrative subpoena should only be issued when an administrative case is in progress and you have notice and opportunity to seek to quash the subpoena before it is served. What has happened here appears to be a violation of your rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and there may be redress under Federal statutes.

I have searched Title 58 of the South Dakota statutes (Insurance) and don't see the procedure for administrative subpoenas. If you have not aleady done so, you should get a copy of the subpoena (the bank shoulld have it).

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Winston Mortain's Post: Is that the case with all states and the dept of insurance for each state? Or would SD be possible separate from your thoughts?
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 6 years ago.

I am "speakng" in generalities.

One would have to look at the particular rules and regulations in particular, of course.

Winston Mortain, Lawyer.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 665
Experience: 27 years practice of law
Winston Mortain and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The bank is refusing to tell me anything. What do I do then?
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 6 years ago.
Well, you could sue the bank for violation of your privacy, and then, in the course of discovery, subpoena the bank's records, including the subpoena that was served on the bank.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Winston Mortain's Post: Would an administrative from a state agency subpoena be able to make the bank stay quiet on releasing the records?
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 6 years ago.
Anything's possible, I suppose, although probably not legal. I suppose the subpoena could have been written (without a shread of legal authority) so as to suggest to the bank that it must keep it secret from you. But I highly doubt it. Sort of a "men in black" scenario, huh?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Winston Mortain's Post: Well, I do not know for sure and the bank was very nice to me yesterday when they were looking...now they say they can't tell me. Thought I would ask from a legal standpoint before I believe that they messed up and gave the information out without my knowledge or if someone did it improperly. Have you ever seen a state agency able to get this information from someone without them being able to find out who got it?
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 6 years ago.

No, I haven't, but this kind of thing doesn't come up too often.

I would now, if I were you, start the "I want to talk to your boss" routine, agaiinst both the bank and the state agency.

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