U.S. Renews Anti-Money Laundering Rules in Property Sales

Published: 02 November 2021

Real EstateThe U.S. financial authority announced changes of its regulations, introducing more stringent rules aimed at preventing money laundering in purchases of residential real estates. (Photo: Pxfuel, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

The U.S. financial authority announced the renewal of its regulations aimed at preventing money laundering in purchases of residential real estates.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), last week announced the renewal of its Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) “that require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used in all-cash purchases of residential real estate.”

FinCEN is part of the U.S. Treasury Department and is tasked with collecting and analyzing information about financial transactions in order to combat domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes. The authority also stated that “the purchase amount threshold remains US$300,000 for each covered metropolitan area.”

GTOs, as it explained, continue to provide valuable data on the purchase of residential real estate by persons possibly involved in various illicit enterprises. This time, GTOs cover some counties within the metropolitan areas of Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

Renewing the GTOs, with terms effective as of November 1, 2021, and expiring April 29, 2022, will help tracking of illicit funds and other criminal or illicit activities, and will inform FinCEN’s future regulatory actions in this area, according to FinCEN.

The GTO program was introduced in January 2016 to improve vigilance in a field prone to money laundering.

The headline and the lead on this article were amended on November 4, 2021. FinCen renewed its regulations, it did not introduce more stringent rules as stated in an earlier version.