Home News Opinion | American Real Estate Was a Money Launderer’s Dream. That’s Changing.

Opinion | American Real Estate Was a Money Launderer’s Dream. That’s Changing.

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He has pushed the ENABLERS Act, which the House passed in July. This would allow the Treasury Department to require so-called “gatekeepers” to the U.S. financial system. This includes certain attorneys, accountants and lawyers. registered agent — Investigate customers and report suspicious activity, just as banks are required to do. It’s not clear if the Senate will pass it, but the principle behind it is an important one: Americans who make their business model out of money laundering should not be allowed to get away with it.

Another big issue that the Optima story reveals is the secret of the US real estate industry itself. This often encourages the use of limited liability companies, shell companies and land trusts, ultimately protecting the privacy and assets of the wealthy. Jay Westbrook, a retired Cleveland city councilor, told me it wasn’t just Ukrainian oligarchs hiding their identities. Westbrook, who clears up the property, said it’s not uncommon for out-of-town investors to buy properties under various LLC names and abdicate responsibility at first sign. He leaves behind unpaid taxes and filth.In many jurisdictions it is not considered ‘High risk’ of money launderingcash buyers can essentially purchase real estate anonymously, without the need for those involved in the transaction to record and verify their true identities.

what is his solution? To keep the wealthy with the same standards of disclosure that hard-working people have to go through to get a mortgage.

Congress has taken a small but important step in this direction. Corporate Transparency Act Overriding the president’s veto during the waning days of the Trump administration. The new law requires the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Division, known as FinCEN, to collect true ownership information from companies and store it in a large, classified database that law enforcement can use to investigate money laundering. Ultimately, the law could affect millions of businesses and force them to submit additional forms. The benefits of using should outweigh the annoyance.

However, this database will never be made available to the public, and how much it will be available to people in cities like Cleveland who want to use it to determine if a potential investor is a deadbeat or a kleptocrat. It is not clear exactly whether they have access.It is also not clear that FinCEN has the ability to build and manage the large databases they are ordered to create.Government Accountability Office report We have found that it can take years for authorities to take advantage of other proprietary information collected and notify law enforcement about the existence of the information. There is no point in collecting this data unless it is put to good use.

To be clear, these steps to combat money laundering are important. USA ranked The World’s Most Secret Financial Jurisdiction. a 2016 report by the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental group that fights money laundering, to the U.S. A few Some improvements have been made since then, but it ranks embarrassingly low.The United States must continue these efforts if it is to earn strong credibility on the world stage in fighting international corruption. Hmm. This is especially important now that the Biden administration has called corruption corruption. CORE NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS.

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