Current Issues: Money Laundering through the Real Estate Sector

The U.S. Capital ACAMS Chapter is dedicated to delivering high quality and relevant training events to its members. The chapter has held three learning events in 2016, focusing on real estate, personal liability and crypto currency. The chapter is continuing to develop learning event topics and future events may include a focus on community banks and credit union challenges and law enforcement trends.

On May 17, 2016, the chapter (in partnership with KPMG) hosted a learning event featuring Elise Bean, former staff member of Senator Carl Levin, who presented cases and significant issues facing the U.S. in the fight against money laundering through the real estate sector.

The use of the real estate sector by foreigners is common, and the cases she presented involved persons from Iran, Mexico, Spain, Russia, Cyprus and India.  The million dollar properties used to launder money were located in both Manhattan and Miami. Bean commented on the motivation for the recent FinCEN Geographic Targeting Order requiring title insurance companies to report real estate transactions involving real estate in Manhattan and Miami. Current issues include the need to beneficial ownership information and bringing realtors under the requirements to both report and implement Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) compliance programs.  With respect to beneficial ownership, she advocates that Secretaries of State in each state require enhanced information from applicants for corporate charters. Unlike many other countries, the U.S. does not require realtors and real estate companies to have formal BSA compliance programs.  She concluded by saying that this weakness will continue to attract money launderers to the real estate sector in the U.S.

To learn more about our events, news and how you can become involved in our chapter, read the first issue of the ACAMS U.S. Capital Chapter newsletter.

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