A U.S. Treasury employee has been arrested on charges that she leaked to BuzzFeed News multiple reports about suspicious financial transactions involving ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, law-enforcement officials said.
The highly confidential documents allegedly leaked by the employee also were related to former Trump campaign official Richard Gates, accused Russian agent Maria Butina, a suspected Russian money launderering entity and the Russian Embassy in Washington, according to a criminal complaint.
Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a 40-year-old senior advisor in Treasury's financial crimes enforcement network who was arrested Tuesday, will face federal criminal charges in New York, officials said.
She is charged with unlawfully disclosing so-called suspicious activity reports, or SARS, and conspiracy to do the same. Both felony counts carry a maxmium potential sentence of five years in prison.
A Quinton, Virginia, resident, Edwards was released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond after her presentment Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Under the conditions of her release, Edwards is barred from contacting reporters or handling documents belonging to her Treasury division without approval.
A lawyer for Edwards did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SARS are used to alert Treasury officials and other authorities about financial transactions that may be related to criminal conduct, such as money laundering. Treasury's FinCEN division, for which Edwards works, manages the collection of SARS. It is illegal for a government employee to disclose a SAR or its contents outside of the scope of their work.
The complaint against Edwards says that she started leaking "numerous SARS in October 2017" to an unidentified reporter, and continued doing so until this month.