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Showing posts with label FinCEN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FinCEN. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

FinCEN Renews Order Requiring Full Disclosure of Persons Behind All Cash Purchases of High-End Real-Estate

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the US Department of the Treasury renewed a Geographic Targeting Order (GTO), on February 23, 2017, requiring “U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay ‘all cash’ for high-end real estate in six major metropolitan areas.” The counties covered in this renewal are: all New York City Burroughs, Miami-Dade County, Broward County (FL), Palm Beach County (FL), Los Angeles County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County (CA), Santa Clara County (CA), San Diego County, and Bexar County (TX).

Each county will have a different monetary threshold for transactions covered by this GTO to become applicable. In New York, covered transactions shall be all cash payments for real property at or above a total purchase price of $1,500,000 in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. In Manhattan, covered transactions are set at or above a purchase price of $3,000,000.

A title insurance company involved in a covered transaction will be required to file a FinCEN Form 8300 detailing, inter alia, the identities of any persons representing the purchaser and any “Beneficial Owners” (an individual who owns 25% or more in equity of the purchaser) “within 30 days of the closing.” For New York, this GTO will continue to prevent anonymous high-end purchasers in the five boroughs.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Federal Government Investigates All-Cash Luxury Real Estate Deals

The federal government announced this week that it will soon monitor and investigate all-cash purchases of luxury residential real estate in excess of $3 million in Manhattan and in excess of $1 million in Miami-Dade County for money laundering and other illicit activity.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, will lead the investigation. The investigation is targeting all-cash luxury real estate purchases because many such purchases are currently being conducted through “shell” companies used to shield the identities of natural persons and hide assets in a transaction. FinCEN’s Geographic Targeting Order (GTO), which is effective from March 1, 2016 through August 27, 2016, will require title insurance companies to identify and report natural persons behind these shell companies so that law enforcement investigators can use that information to weaken the ability of individuals to disguise their identities in money laundering schemes.

Since 2006, FinCEN has worked to establish an accountable mortgage industry by conducting studies regarding suspected mortgage fraud and money laundering and by issuing orders of investigation for certain financial institutions and transactions across the country.

FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery declared that “cash purchases present a more complex gap that we seek to address.” The current investigation of luxury residential real estate will assist FinCEN in further establishing a more transparent system to avoid another financial crisis in the future.

Though currently temporary, the GTO may be extended into next year and expanded to include additional cities and counties.