Treasury to expand crackdown on secret property deals

by Michael Mata29 Jul 2016
On July 27, 2016, the US Treasury Department announced that its anti-money-laundering crackdown on secret cash deals for expensive homes in Miami-Dade County and Manhattan would be expanded to other luxury real estate markets in Florida, California, Texas, and New York.

In January, the US Treasury Department stated that it would temporarily require title insurance companies to reveal the identities of owners of shell companies if the owners paid $1 million or more in cash for homes in Miami-Dade County, and $3m or more in cash for homes in Manhattan.

Under the new “geographic targeting order,” title insurance companies are required to provide the same reporting for cash-based real estate deals valued at $1 million or more in Florida’s Broward and Palm Beach Counties. In New York, the directive was expanded to the four other boroughs for deals valued at $1.5 million and above.

The same reporting is required for cash real estate deals valued at $2 million or more in California’s San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. Finally, the same reporting is required for cash real estate transactions valued at $500,000 or more in Texas’ Bexar County and San Antonio.

The crackdown will begin on August 28, 2016, and will last 180 days. It’s designed to weed out international criminals who launder money via real estate deals in the United States. Real estate deals need to be reported if they are done fully or partly in cash, with the definition of “cash transactions” expanded to include not only money orders, certified checks, cashier’s checks, and traveler’s checks, but also personal and business checks.


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