BCREA welcomes provincial crackdown on money laundering

By Steve Randall

The drive to tackle money laundering by criminal networks using British Columbia’s real estate sector is being fully supported by the province’s real estate association.

BCREA continues to work with the authorities to ensure that its members are keeping on top of compliance and will deal robustly with any real estate agent found to be complicit in money laundering.

“Since we learned earlier this summer that BC’s real estate sector may be used in money laundering activities, we’ve been working aggressively with government and other partners to help support investigations into organized crime,” said BCREA’s Chief Executive Officer Darlene Hyde.

A police report made public this week put the extent of real estate-related money laundering by crime gangs at $1 billion for 2016.

BCREA says that it became aware in July this year that some brokerages were struggling with FINTRAC reporting compliance and has been quick to support those who needed help.

“As the report says, money laundering is a complex problem and recognizing when sophisticated international crime syndicates – who are experts at fraud and deception – are at work behind the scenes takes significant resources,” noted Hyde. “At BCREA, we are ready to make our contribution to keeping BC’s economy safe from organized crime and we have committed to assisting the government.”

What the association has done

BCREA has taken several steps in support of the province’s crackdown on money laundering including:

  • Invited FINTRAC to speak to more than 250 brokers and Realtors about understanding and meeting their compliance obligations at our first ever managing brokers conference.
  • Updated the BCREA course on real estate transactions and FINTRAC reporting.
  • Created targeted communications to Realtors addressing issues around FINTRAC reporting and compliance.
  • Proactively approached the provincial government to assist in their inquiry into real estate’s vulnerabilities to organized crime.
  • Requested the opportunity to participate in the Ministry of Finance’s Expert Panel on Money Laundering in Real Estate.
  • Encouraged BC’s 23,000 Realtors to participate in the government’s money laundering investigations through their online and telephone hotlines.
  • Promoted the government’s request for public participation into its inquiries through our own social media platforms.

 

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