The US government will start tracking secret buyers of high-end properties to prevent the flow of illicit money into luxury real estate in America.
The government will require title insurance companies to record the identities of buyers and submit the information to the Treasury, to create a database which can be shared with law enforcement agencies, who will then investigate suspicious deals and bring to book those involved in money laundering.
The focus will be on sales paid for in cash and conducted using shell companies.
The Treasury Department officials announced recently the initiative will be initially launched in Manhattan and Miami-Dade Country, considered to be hubs of overseas real estate investors, particularly for the luxury property segment, and then rolled out to other major cities in the coming months, officials said.
Under the initiative, the federal government will make it mandatory for real estate companies to disclose details of cash transactions in property deals. “We are concerned about the possibility that dirty money is being put into luxury real estate,” said Jennifer Shasky Calvery , the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Treasury unit running the initiative.
If Treasury officials find many sales involved suspicious money, they will develop permanent reporting requirements across the country, Calvery said.