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Senate Democrats call for federal investigation into money laundering in luxury real estate

October 04, 2018 / Ben Lane

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has been looking into whether foreign buyers are using shell companies to buy luxury U.S. real estate in order to launder money for almost three years, but two Democratic senators want the government to do more to figure out how much criminal activity is prevalent in these deals. The initial FinCEN investigation delved into unknown buyers using shell companies to buy a high-end real estate in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County because the government was “concerned about illicit money” being used in the deals. The results of that initial investigation showed more than 25% of transactions covered in the initial inquiry involved a “beneficial owner” who is also the subject of a “suspicious activity report,” which is an indication of possible criminal activity.