BC Real Estate Money Laundering Investigations
A recent news report suggests that up to $1 billion may have been laundered through Vancouver luxury real estate in 2016. BCREA has been supporting the provincial government's ongoing investigations and efforts to understand and eliminate money laundering vulnerabilities in BC real estate transactions.
“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 BCREA CEO Darlene 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.”
In July 2018, BCREA learned that BC brokerages and REALTORS® were having trouble understanding and meeting their reporting duties to Canada's Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC). BCREA responded quickly to help REALTORS® better meet their compliance responsibilities. Other steps BCREA has taken include:
- Inviting FINTRAC to speak to more than 250 brokers and REALTORS® about understanding and meeting their compliance obligations.
- Updating the BCREA course on real estate transactions and FINTRAC reporting.
- Creating communications targeted to REALTORS® that address issues around FINTRAC reporting and compliance.
- Proactively approaching the provincial government to assist in their inquiry into real estate's vulnerabilities to organized crime.
- Requesting participation in the Ministry of Finance's Expert Panel on Money Laundering in Real Estate.
- Encouraging BC REALTORS® to participate in the government's money laundering investigations through online and telephone hotlines.
- Promoting the government's request for public participation into its inquiries through social media platforms.
While BCREA has not received any reports of REALTORS® being complicit in money laundering, they continue to support the government's investigations into this serious issue. Any REALTOR® found to be knowingly complicit with money laundering will be held accountable to provincial professional standards, criminal codes, and to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. BCREA will work hard to ensure the public can have full confidence in the REALTOR® profession.