in this issue

By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator

Squatting is the action of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use. Read the article titled "SQUATTERS" for the scary details regarding a couple's experience renting to unknown individuals using an online site.

It does not take long in this business for settlement agents to get to know their competitors. They meet at industry related events and become friendly. In some cases, a competitor is someone they may have worked with. As a result, there is a camaraderie formed. While maintaining confidentiality, settlement agents share their knowledge and experiences with each other as appropriate, and band together to help defend the property rights of legitimate owners as demonstrated in this story. Read "NOT in our town!" for the details. 

The Bank Secrecy Act serves as a valuable tool to combat money laundering, but it does not identify all vulnerabilities. As described last month, professional money launderers use entities during the layering process when cleaning funds. They create shell entities — that may appear legitimate — for the sole purpose of concealing the identity of the criminal(s) and cleaning the money. Find out more detailed information in the article titled "GEOGRAPHIC targeting orders."

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