http://www.visiontimes.com/?p=88304

Criminals Use U.S. Land to Secretly Invest Millions in Dirty Money

FinCEN is responding to concerns that all-cash purchasers may be hiding illicitly gained assets and their identities.  (Image:  Dougtone via Compfight cc)
FinCEN is responding to concerns that all-cash purchasers may be hiding illicitly gained assets and their identities. (Image: Dougtone via Compfight cc)

As foreign buyers pour billions of dollars into the U.S.’s luxury real estate market, the federal government is, for the first time, taking steps to learn the identities of buyers who pay cash for high-end real estate using shell companies.

 The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, will require title insurance companies identify the people behind companies that pay “all cash” for high-end residential real estate in New York’s Manhattan and Miami-Dade County in Florida.

The temporary reporting requirement is for all-cash purchases made from March 1, 2016, through August 27, 2016, that are worth more than $3 million in Manhattan, and $1 million in Miami-Dade.

The government agency is responding to concerns that all-cash purchasers may be hiding illicitly gained assets and their identities by buying residential properties through limited liability companies or other financial structures.

A spokesman for FinCEN was unable to provide comment on what particular nationalities had prompted the money laundering concerns.

FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery, said in a statement:

The American Land Title Association (ALTA), a national trade association, is helping its members to comply with the federal reporting requirements. Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer, said in a statement:

Heather Lowe, a lawyer with Global Financial Integrity who tracks the transfer of illicit money out of developing countries, told npr:

New York City introduced its own disclosure rules for foreign shell companies in May last year. The rules were an attempt to rope in real estate owners who were avoiding paying taxes. It required the names of all the members of a shell company to be released to the city.

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