With all the accolades that living in South Florida receives, there has always been a black shadow looming in the background, and its name is money laundering.
Last year the federal government identified specific areas around the country to focus on the laundering of money through the high-end real estate market. It came as no surprise that Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach made the list.
The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued geographic targeting orders, or GTOs, to temporarily track activity and gather information on the main players and to find the identity of the actual names of the buyers.
Well, that campaign and mission are due to expire this week. What does that mean? Well, for one, title companies will not have to worry about disclosing the names of the shell companies buying luxury homes more than $1 million.
FinCEN has yet to tip its hand on whether the initiative will be renewed or halted.
Money Laundering Experts expect the agency will now share all of the collected data with other federal agencies. Many believe that the current administration will not seek to tighten or restrict the real estate industry.
Other experts feel the opposite. This might mean that the foreign criminals conducting money laundering will bring more scrutiny from President Trump’s hot-button against cracking down on illegal foreign interests.
Only time will tell if the data collected will bring in more federal oversite or just get swept away in hopes of keeping the market active.