On November 8, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) reissued its Geographic Targeting Orders (“GTOs”) requiring U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind legal entities used in purchases of residential real estate performed without a bank loan or similar form of external financing. The monetary threshold remains at $300,000, and the nine districts remain the same. The GTOs cover purchases involving virtual currency as well as “fiat” currency, wires, personal or business checks, cashier’s checks, certified checks, traveler’s checks, a money order in any form, or a funds transfer.
No new jurisdictions were added to the previously existing coverage of the GTOs:
- California: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties
- Florida: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties
- Hawaii: City and County of Honolulu
- Illinois: Cook County
- Massachusetts: Suffolk and Middlesex Counties
- Nevada: Clark County
- New York: Boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan
- Texas: Bexar, Tarrant and Dallas counties
- Washington: King County
The reissuance was identical to the May 2019 GTOs with one exception:
The new GTOs will not require reporting for purchases made by legal entities that are U.S. publicly-traded companies. Real estate purchases by such entities are identifiable through other business filings.
The exception will presumably relieve some reporting burden on title insurance companies, but it will also likely diminish the number of reports the FinCEN itself reads and analyzes. If nothing else, this exception confirms what FinCEN has said over and over again – that it uses the data produced as a result of the GTO regulations.