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The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) has recently fined two B.C. real estate brokerage companies for violating Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
LaBoutique Realty Ltd., which conducts business in Vancouver under the name LeHomes Realty First, has been charged a $275,385 administrative financial penalty by FINTRAC.
As per FINTRAC, “LaBoutique Realty Ltd. failed to submit a suspicious transaction report where there were reasonable grounds to suspect that transactions were related to a money laundering offence.”
Additionally, the company was reported to have failed to file a significant cash transaction report when it received $10,000 or more in cash and there was no designated person in charge of a compliance program. In addition to other breaches, there’s a failure to assess the potential for money laundering or terrorist financing in the company’s products, delivery methods, location, customers, and business contacts.
A $282,397 fine was imposed on Pan Pacific Platinum Real Estate Services Inc. for the same offenses. The brokerage company Cathay Pacific Realty Ltd. was penalized $206,250 by FINTRAC on October 18 for breaking anti-money laundering regulations. Cathay also lacked compliance regulations and neglected to file a dubious transaction report.
Casinos, financial institutions, money services companies, real estate brokers, and salespeople are required by the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to keep specific records, recognize customers, uphold a compliance regime, and report specific banking transactions to FINTRAC.
Real estate is susceptible to money laundering, according to the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, although it could not reach any conclusions about how much such activity affects property values.