Senators call for investigation into real estate money laundering law vulnerabilities

Two Democrats say there is far less oversight on the residential side than the lending side

National /
Oct.October 03, 2018 07:04 PM

Chris Van Hollen and Sheldon Whitehouse(Credit: Ervins Strauhmanis via Flickr)

The risk of money laundering in residential real estate is high.

That’s according to two U.S. senators who are calling for an investigation to probe the potential vulnerabilities of existing U.S. money-laundering provisions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, both Democrats, sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office, saying the real estate sector has less far oversight when it comes to money laundering than the lending sector.

That fact, they wrote, presents “increased risk of access by foreign and domestic criminal organizations,” the Journal reported.

In South Florida, federal authorities are looking to seize 16 high-end properties that are alleged to be tied to the defendants of a $1.2 billion Venezuelan money laundering case.

The letter comes a day after a sweeping New York Times investigation found that President Donald Trump and his family engaged in a series of elaborate schemes — including some that could be illegal — to avoid paying taxes on the family’s vast real estate empire. 

The lawmakers’ request includes an assessment of the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN.

In 2016, it began requiring title insurance companies to report the identities of individuals behind all-cash buys in vulnerable locales like Miami.

Lawmakers are moving to expand that program from just a handful of U.S. cities to all stateside transactions. 

A letter from the senators asks how FinCEN has used the data to help fight money laundering. Political infighting has hampered efforts to crack down on money laundering in the U.S., even with the new FinCEN reporting requirements in place. [WSJ] – Dennis Lynch


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
State Sen. Jabari Brisport and a rendering of 840 Atlantic Avenue (Getty, IMC Architecture, iStock)
How a senator’s vampire politics hurt real estate — and NYC
How a senator’s vampire politics hurt real estate — and NYC
New law for immigrants seen as pointless for undocumented tenants
New law for immigrants seen as little help for undocumented tenants
New law for immigrants seen as little help for undocumented tenants
Tavros' Dov Barnett and a rendering of the current proposal at 44-54 Ninth Avenue and 351-355 West 14th Street (Tavros, Renderings via BKSK)
City orders Meatpacking office developer to dismantle, rebuild slouching façades
City orders Meatpacking office developer to dismantle, rebuild slouching façades
An alleged Miami Ponzi hustle
An alleged Miami Ponzi hustle
An alleged Miami Ponzi hustle
Who is still buying NYC’s rent-stabilized buildings?
Who is still buying NYC’s rent-stabilized buildings?
Who is still buying NYC’s rent-stabilized buildings?
Gov. Kathy Hochul (Getty, iStock)
Hochul signs bill that could add 0.5% tax to most East End sales
Hochul signs bill that could add 0.5% tax to most East End sales
Trust-fund kids exploit NY housing subsidy program
Trust-fund kids exploit NY housing subsidy program
Trust-fund kids exploit NY housing subsidy program
Downtown pols call for limits on permanent outdoor dining
Downtown pols call for limits on permanent outdoor dining
Downtown pols call for limits on permanent outdoor dining
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...