More time to comment on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) that eyes possible Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting requirements for cash residential and commercial real estate transactions was announced Thursday by Treasury’s financial crimes enforcement unit. The new comment deadline is Feb. 21.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said in December that real estate lending activity is already addressed in its BSA anti-money laundering (AML) rules, but cash transactions are not (though specific transaction reporting requirements have been imposed on title insurance companies in the form of Geographic Targeting Orders). When real estate is purchased without such financing, the agency noted, it can be “nearly impossible to trace the beneficial owners behind shell companies that are often used to purchase the real estate. As a result, corrupt officials and criminals engaging in illicit activity can exploit the U.S. real estate sector to launder their ill-gotten wealth.”
The ANPR is aimed at addressing the vulnerability of the U.S. real estate market to money laundering and other illicit activity, the agency noted.