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Feds Crack Down On Bay Area Luxury Home Buyers Using Shell Companies

July 30, 2016

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Amid increasing concerns that shell companies are hiding stolen or ill-gotten funds in the United States’ luxury residential real estate market, the federal government is cracking down by requiring the buyer’s identity be revealed in all-cash luxury residential property sales, including those in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The new, albeit it temporary, regulations will descend on five California counties in August, marking the second phase of a program launched by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

FinCEN, starting in March, has required U.S. title insurers to reveal the identities of individuals behind legal entities that complete all-cash real estate purchases in both the Borough of Manhattan in New York City and in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

“We are seeking to understand the risk that corrupt foreign officials, or transnational criminals, may be using premium U.S. real estate to secretly invest millions in dirty money,” FinCEN director Jennifer Shasky Calvery said when rolling out the program in Manhattan and Miami in January.

The landmark program marks the first time the federal government has required the identities of those behind all-cash real estate purchases be disclosed.

On Wednesday, FinCEN announced that their program had been so advantageous to their investigations that they are expanding it to cover six major metropolitan areas.

For six months, beginning August 28, 2016, the regulations will expand to cover any all-cash sale of $2 million or more in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, as well as Los Angeles County and San Diego County… (more)

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