Reuters reports that court judges have lent their backing to federal prosecutors using the method, which demands recipients of the official papers need to provide evidence that could be damaging to their cause.
Such a move will see bank clients - and not the financial institutions themselves - required to pass on details of their holdings since 2003.
Nathan Hochman of the law firm Bingham McCutchen - which has offices across the globe, including in New York and Beijing - claimed lawyers representing those being targeted are outraged by the approach, adding: "This is a very hot issue right now."
Details that need to be handed over include statements showing the highest annual balances - and those who fail to comply with the terms might be found in contempt of court and therefore at risk of facing time behind bars.
By Tony Aynsley