Money Laundering, Terrorism & Financial Institutions
Published by Civic Research Institute,

USA PATRIOT Act Monitor News Release: Real Estate Closers (Lawyers?)
4/10/2003 7:30:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Financial institutions, for purposes of the anti-money laundering program requirements, include "persons involved in real estate closings and settlements." Following the rulemaking pattern previously used for vehicle dealers and travel agencies, FinCEN has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking which is a set of questions designed to help the agency determine what the rules should be.(68 Fed. Reg. 177569 (April 10, 2003).) The release lists some "red flags" that have been identified by the American Land Title Association as possibly justifying filing of suspicious activity reports. The preamble indicates that lawyers, as persons "involved" in real estate closings, may be covered by prospective rules. "FinCEN ... does not believe that application of section 352 requirements to attorneys in connection with activities relating to real estate closings or settlements raises issues of, or poses obligations inconsistent with, the attorney-client privilege." FinCEN refers to the ABA's Task Force on Gatekeeper Regulation and the Profession to the effect that "reasonable compliance training and due diligence" should minimize risk of lawyers' involvement in money laundering activities. The release will be analyzed in detail in April's USA PATRIOT Act Monitor.


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