According to Napolitano, US authorities collected a suspicious activity report otherwise known as SAR. It tipped off Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to Khalid Aldawsari.
Local experts explained financial institutions file SARs after noticing unusual banking records, which can include things like money laundering, structuring and even terrorist financing. Due to privacy issues it's unclear which type of activity was listed in Aldawsari's case.
"You give general information the person's name, address, telephone number, a brief detail like the type of transaction then you actually have to write a narrative, then you have to write a narrative about what happened about 2 or 3 paragraphs long," said Todd Ehler, Junior Comptroller at Texas Tech University's Federal Credit Union.
"For a lot of illegal activities if you follow the money you're going to follow the action and the activity so this is just aimed at following the money," said Dr. Scott Hein, Professor and Chair in Finance at Texas Tech University.
Officials also won't reveal the amount of money in Aldawsari's transaction or which financial institution filed the SAR. Aldawsari's next court appearance is March 11th.