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New York real estate provides means for money laundering

A 2014 media investigation uncovered the fact that foreign investors or LLCs were buying up condos in Manhattan, according to The Week. In fact, they purchased nearly a third of the condos in larger area developments between 2008 and 2014. The U.S. Treasury Department began tracking real estate sales to unknown foreign investors in 2016 for just the Miami-Dade County and Manhattan areas. In just a few months, investigators determined that more than one-fourth of all cash transactions for luxury apartments were suspicious and widened the scope of the investigation.

Along with the attraction of having valuable holdings in one of the world’s foremost cities, these foreign investors are attracted to the New York market because of the potential to launder money. What’s more, they are being advised by high-profile, American attorneys about how to move questionable money into the U.S. That advice? Buy New York real estate.

FindLaw defines money laundering, a federal crime, as financial transactions using proceeds from criminal activities. It is a method of hiding the ownership, location, source or control of money from these operations. After laundering, it appears to have come from legitimate sources.

If you are being investigated or have been charged with money laundering, defenses can include:

  • Not knowing the source or nature of the money
  • Not intending to support or take park in crimes
  • Not trying to hide the source of the money
  • Entrapment by law enforcement representatives

To be found guilty of money laundering, the accused must make financial transactions with the knowledge that the funds involved are criminal proceeds. Transactions include wire transfers, sales, deposits, loans, title transfers and more.

This article on money laundering is general in nature. It should not replace the advice of an attorney.

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