FinCEN Expands GTOs to Wire Transfers
Monday, September 18, 2017
On August 22nd the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced the issuance of revised Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) effective September 22, 2017. In a change that impacts California title companies, the new GTO also added transactions made using wire transfers.
The original order was issued in January of 2016 and has since been updated and revised, most recently in February 2017. It now includes five counties in California. The GTOs require title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay for high-end residential real estate in specified metropolitan areas. The revised GTO adds transactions conducted in the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii.
FinCEN data indicate that about 30 percent of reported transactions involve a beneficial owner or purchaser representative that was also the subject of a previous suspicious activity report. In addition, feedback from law enforcement indicates that the reporting has advanced criminal investigations. In issuing the revised order, FinCEN expressed its appreciation for the continued assistance and cooperation of the title insurance companies and the American Land Title Association in protecting the real estate markets from abuse by illicit actors.
For additional information, see CLTA News Express 2017/18-21.