By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator
Recently enacted regulations to the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) will require companies to report their beneficial owners, similar to the information collected under the Real Estate Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) issued by FinCEN. Will the duplicative information change or update the current reporting requirements in certain geographic areas? Read "WILL the CTA end the real estate GTO?" for more information.
Be sure to read "ONE day close" to discover how an escrow officer and her assistant prevented the absentee owner scam from being perpetrated on a potential sale transaction. The impressive part of the story is they followed their instincts, and refused to even open the order and waste valuable time working on an order they were certain was fraudulent.
Participating in laundering dirty money can go both ways. Requests for payments in small amounts, less than $10,000, may provide the assistance needed to evade the reporting requirements under the Anti-Money Laundering regulations in the Bank Secrecy Act. As a result, multiple payments to the same payee are never acceptable. Making payments of less than $10,000 to the same payee is considered "structuring," which subjects anyone who assists to strict penalties.
When a party to a real estate transaction is to be paid $100,000 and they deliberately request payments in increments of $9,999 — they could be guilty of structuring. Financial institutions may be obligated to file a suspicious activity report (SAR). The article titled "MULTIPLE payments to same payee" contains examples of how a person could launder money with the unintentional help of a settlement agent.