U.S. extends its search for dirty money in real estate

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By Joel Schectman

<span class="articleLocation”>The U.S. Treasury Department said it will extend
its search for criminals who seek to launder money by buying
U.S. real estate.

The U.S. Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement
Network (FinCEN) will extend for 180 days a rule ordering title
insurance companies to report to authorities all-cash purchases
in parts of California, Texas, Florida and New York, the agency
said in a statement Thursday.

The order mandates that the title companies identify the
real purchaser, even when the sale is made through shell
companies.

The information was “valuable data that is assisting law
enforcement and is serving to inform our future efforts to
address money laundering in the real estate sector,” said FinCEN
Acting Director Jamal El-Hindi.

The agency said since imposing the original order in January
2016, it has found 30 percent of these cash real estate
transactions involve a person who had previously been reported
to authorities for suspicious financial activities.

The order was due to expire on Thursday.

The order includes New York City; Miami-Dade, Broward and
Palm Beach counties; Los Angeles; San Francisco, San Mateo and
Santa Clara counties; and San Antonio, Texas.

The American Land Title Association said its members would
continue to work with law enforcement. “The good news is those
efforts appear to be beneficial to the government’s work
identifying money laundering schemes,” Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s
chief executive officer, said in a statement.



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