The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced on Wednesday, Oct. 17, the arrest of a senior adviser at the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, accused of leaking Suspicious Activity Reports related to former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, Trump campaign official Richard Gates, the Russian Embassy and accused Russian agent Mariia Butina.
Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, 40, of Quinton, Virginia, is charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of suspicious activity reports, or SARs, and one count of conspiracy to make unauthorized disclosures of suspicious activity reports, both of which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Edwards was arrested on Tuesday, and at that time was in possession of a flash drive that appears "to be the flash drive on which she saved the unlawfully disclosed SARs, and a cellphone containing numerous communications over an encrypted application in which she transmitted SARs and other sensitive government information" to a reporter, federal law enforcement officials said. She is scheduled to appear today before a judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said Edwards "betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information contained in Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to an individual not authorized to receive them."
SARs are filed confidentially by banks and other financial institutions to alert law enforcement to potentially illegal transactions and are not documents available to the public. It is a federal crime to disclose them outside of one's official duties, Berman said.
Edwards reportedly leaked confidential documents relating to Manafort and others to a reporter from digital media company BuzzFeed, according to Reuters.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said Edwards was "entrusted with sensitive government information" and "violated that trust when she made several unauthorized disclosures to the media."