On July 16th, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau within the Department of Treasury, hosted an inaugural meeting with real estate industry leaders at its office in Vienna, Virginia to discuss the impact of money laundering in real estate, the Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs), and business email compromise scams (wire fraud). Under the GTOs, title companies are required to report information regarding individuals purchasing residential real estate in all-cash transactions in certain cities throughout the country. FinCEN explained that the data collected under the GTOs, which have been in place since 2016, has been useful in combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.
FinCEN asked many questions of the industry regarding GTO compliance; new trends or issues within the industry that regulators should be aware of; and the major differences between commercial and residential real estate transactions. FinCEN also discussed their efforts in combatting wire fraud scams, and in working to develop a rapid response team by partnering with federal, local, and state law enforcement to stop these scams. FinCEN hopes to continue to work with industry on these issues.