By Joane Leroux

I would like to respond to Jorge Branca’s letter to the editor, FINTRAC: The nemesis of our forest? by highlighting how Canadian businesses, FINTRAC and police and national security agencies all have a role to play in creating a hostile environment for those who seek to abuse our financial system or threaten the safety of Canadians.

The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act establishes obligations for real estate and other businesses, including to identify clients, keep records and report certain types of financial transactions. These obligations are essential in detecting illicit activity and deterring criminals from operating within the legitimate economy. For example, eliminating the anonymity of the client serves as an important measure of deterrence. And, keeping records ensures that police will have access to the information and evidence they may require as part of their criminal investigations.



In its Assessment of Inherent Risks of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Canada, the federal government found that the real estate sector is highly vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing, given “its size and scope and (the fact that it) generates a large number of high-value financial transactions on an ongoing basis.” This is consistent with the assessment of the Financial Action Task Force, an internationally recognized body that sets global standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Based on these assessments and other information, including media reporting and concerns raised in Vancouver, Toronto and elsewhere, FINTRAC has significantly increased its examinations in the real estate sector. Over the past two years alone, the centre conducted 343 real estate examinations nationwide.

We are also working to assist the real estate sector in fulfilling its legal obligations by providing extensive guidance, policy interpretations, responses to inquiries and presentations to provincial and municipal real estate boards. Last year, we published the Operational Brief: Indicators of money laundering in financial transactions related to real estate to help real estate in identifying and reporting suspicious transactions relating to money laundering or terrorist activity financing. We developed this material in consultation with the Canadian Real Estate Association and the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec.

FINTRAC remains committed to working with the real estate sector to ensure it understands and fulfils its legal obligations. However, when that doesn’t happen, we may impose an administrative monetary penalty. Since 2008, the centre has imposed 95 penalties in all sectors covered under the act. I would like to emphasize that, as we finalize our review of our penalty program, we retain the full authority to levy an administrative monetary penalty should it be warranted.

Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing regime is dependent on businesses across the country fulfilling their legal obligations, particularly providing FINTRAC with timely and high-quality reports. These reports are the lifeblood of our analysis and made it possible for us to provide 2,015 disclosures of actionable financial intelligence last year in support of police investigations targeting fentanyl trafficking, fraud against Canadians and other serious crimes in our communities. You can find FINTRAC’s contributions to some of these investigations on our website.

We are committed to working with our police and national security partners and businesses across the country to help protect Canadians and Canada’s legitimate economy, the stability of which is of tremendous benefit to the real estate sector.

All of us – including real estate – have an important role to play.

SIMILAR ARTICLES

45 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Joane:
    If there is one thing that I really appreciate about your letter is the time that you took to write it. For that, thanks. About the rest, I’d like to emphasize the following:

    1) At the end of my letter I specifically asked for a REAL answer and NOT for a “politician’s version” because generally they have the tendency to talk a lot but say nothing. And that’s what you did.

    2) Sometimes I’m a bit slow so my apologies if I’m missing your point but, I’d have a question based on the numbers you mentioned: Are you telling me that from the millions of transactions in the whole country for the last two years FINTRAC just made 343 “real estate examinations” nationwide ? Is that a joke ? At that pace, you’d have more chances to win the Lotto/Max than catching a bad guy.
    So… With a budget of $120 M (2 years) that means that every examination had a cost of about $350,000. (Wow !)

    3) It seems to me that FINTRAC is missing its point. Their job is to catch money launderers NOT to chase Realtors. Probably you feel like a big achievement to impose some fines which, by the way, you are unable to cash because of a court ruling from 2016. In any case, “fines to Realtors” is NOT your goal.

    4) You say that FINTRAC is committed to create a hostile environment for money launderers but, so far we didn’t see that. You made seminars and print manuals about how to do this or fill that form instead of investigating lawyers or banks where the big money is. By the way… Thanks to the Supreme Court of Canada you can’t chase lawyers either. Do you have any idea how many HUGE CASH transaction are done under the radar including FSBOs ? If you are not allowed to investigate Lawyers, why don’t you go after the banks ? They have the money, NOT us. (Money launderers must be laughing while reading this letter)
    By the way… If you have NETFLIX I’d recommend to watch the 2nd episode of “Dirty Money” (the documentary about the HSBC in USA). You’ll learn about “HOW committed” are the governments in fighting crime.

    5) Again, you didn’t say anything about HOW MANY bad guys did FINTRAC catched. You just talk about the fines against Realtors. So… NO accountability about the effectiveness. By the way… Is your budget still $60M p/year or now you got more ?

    6) If FINTRAC would had been a private company and the employees would had salaries based on performance, FINTRAC would had declared bankruptcy a decade ago and all of you would be surviving thanks to the unemployment cheques.

    7) I realize that Realtors, unfortunately, don’t have enough power to change this but I’m going to ask you a favour in behalf of all of us: Stop insulting our intelligence with non sense comments, letters, manuals or more forms.

    Please, do not misunderstand me. I think that the original idea to create FINTRAC was excellent. (to catch money launderers). The big problem it seems that everybody forgot about it and now, all of you, are aiming your weapons to the wrong direction wasting a lot of resources while pretending you are doing something fantastic. But… who cares, right ? In any case all of you get your salary at the end of the month even when you did not achieve your goals.

    And please, let me finish this comment from a more personal and human point of view: I had the chance to talk to a lot of Realtors about FINTRAC, particularly three agents who called me (long distance calls !) after they read my letter to REM to share their disappointment and deception. They sounded as “no hope” and defeated. Even one of them told me about his particular case: He sent a 21 pages report about a highly suspicious transaction to the Police. They told him to send it to FINTRAC because they, as a police force, can’t act directly against money launderers. So, this guy sent you the same report just to get your answer three months later to let him know that YOU sent the report to the police. (another joke).

    As you can see, my comment is not just an “angry letter from a crazy Realtor”. It is the sentiment of the vast majority, and here is my question to ALL of YOU: How do you feel at work, knowing that 99% of Realtors think that FINTRAC (as it’s working now) is not only useless but also a very expensive organization ? Think about it.
    Sincerely,

    Jorge Branca

  2. When cars were first invented, there were no or regulations or road signs even. Government eventually implemented laws, regulations, licensing, a whole process that was run by the government….not the car salespeople. Police officers enforce the laws, not the salespeople. If money laundering is supporting terrorist activities and real estate sales are the vehicle, surely salespeople should not be policing these activities. We are not trained for nor do we have resources to assist us. Whoever decided that realtors should be tasked with this responsibility is in fact foolish to think that realtors are capable of having a significant impact. To add further insult is to threaten us with severe punishment as well if the job is not done well enough. The whole system needs to be reworked so that the right people and processes are put into place.

  3. Is anyone concerned that the responsibility of preparing the Fintrax paperwork and the time it takes is just a way for the government to get free information through real estate industry without paying us for our time and open ourselves up to financial penalties and possible jail time if we don’t complete the paperwork. It really bothers me that the Brokers hold our commission cheques ransom until they receive the completed Fintrax Forms

    • You can think of Fintrac (not Fintrax) what you want, but the “regular” data is staying within the brokerage. What free information do you think the government gets ? The address and drivers license number of a client ? I am pretty sure they have that information already. As long it is a rule to be followed I am glad your brokerage is holding back your commission cheques. It really does not take more than 3 minutes to fill out the forms (after spending dozens of hours showing homes or at listings). Tthe discussion here is that this is just plain useless and that any criminal or money launderer would most likely not purchase a home through a brokerage.

  4. Why has no one asked Bill Morneau why the FINTRAC department exists? Perhaps he can justify why? He would have the numbers since they report to him. I can’t wait for someone to be honest with the largest group of non paid employees they have. As a forced group of public employees maybe we should strike? That might make them talk.

  5. Asking local Real Estate associations to lobby this upwards through OREA and into CREA may prove more fruitful than placing questions and comments on this website, something I have already done. Perhaps the rest of us should do likewise…

    Getting responses to our specific questions or concerns from a Fintrac Compliance officer does not seem to be a good approach. I’d think Joane’s role is not to address our concerns so much as to support and enforce the process as it exists today.

    • Rick:

      If Joane’s role is not to address our concerns, then why did she attempt to do just that via her response to Jorge’s letter?

      I asked for answers to my questions as a concerned private citizen, and not as a Realtor. I have been retired for over six years now. If Joane ignores me, she is ignoring a private citizen, and not a Realtor.

      Yes, Joane’s role is to support her organization’s internal processes; she is a puppet of her bosses after all. If Joane does not respond to my questions, it is likely that she will have been muzzled by her bosses, because truthful answers might not look good for the FINTRAC brand.

  6. Brian, Excellent questions, but don’t hold your breath for any sensible answer any time soon. The federal government has their scapegoat to comply with international demands, and we do not have the support we need, regardless of the numbers. Only by our respective boards having the fortitude to stand as one, and demand that our national organization support us, and effectively lobby the government, to get this onerous and senseless practice stopped once and for all, will change happen. As typical Canadians we role over on our backs enmasse ,like whipped dogs and accept whatever is demanded of us regardless of consequences to ourselves.

    • I, for one, have already requested my local association to take this up to OREA and CREA to demand a review of this…..debacle.

      • Rick;

        OREA and CREA are in bed with FINTRAC on this one. Complete waste of time expecting either organization to go to bat for in-the-field Realtors in my opinion. Your local association will likely play both sides of the fence in pursuit of not pissing off either its constituents (you guys and gals) or the OREA/CREA/FINTRAC triumvirate. Sadly, the bottom of the power pyramid dues-payers (you guys and gals) are nothing more than cannon fodder for those above you leaching off of the system. This is not a symbiotic relationship. You come across as a good guy, but good guys are often naïve to the reality of power structures.

        I believe that FINTRAC has a role to play regarding money laundering, but FINTRAC should not be assessing A.M.P.s against innocent Realtors. Witch hunts went out of vogue long ago. FINTRAC should aim its guns toward where the bulk of the illicit money really is concentrated—private cash deals/lending institutions/legal firms etc.—instead of zeroing in on Realtors to the tune of 22% of its resources being trained on same. Does anyone seriously believe that 22% of money laundering convictions arise from Realtor participation? If that were true, then it follows that 50% of FINTRAC’s resources would be trained on Realtors’ business dealings because that would be where the big payoffs would come from. But then again, tax-payer-funded government bureaucracies are not known for their attention to financial efficiency. There are undoubtedly some fishy Realtors out there, as well as some sloppy ones, but…22% of FINTRAC’s resources being trained on the whole shebang? Looks like FINTRAC chases down the easy route to me.

  7. Joane:

    I ask, again, for a response to my questions, being (including some new questions):

    1) How many money launderers, out of the 343 investigations “conducted” (meaning the investigations are now complete, and not ongoing) nationwide over the past two years, have been identified subject to being charged with a crime?

    2) How many A.M.P.s have been levied against ‘specifically’ real estate salespeople over the last ten years out of the 95 A.M.P.s quoted across the total spectrum of investigations?

    3) How many A.M.P.s have been levied against real estate salespeople as the result of money launderers actually being convicted of the said crime?

    4) How many money launderers have been convicted of a crime as the direct result of real estate sales peoples’ reporting efforts?

    5) What is the average amount of an A.M.P. levied against a real estate salesperson regarding sloppy paperwork violations and/or failure to properly identify a potential money launderer? Is there a difference in the A.M.P.levy amount?

    6) Is there a special faction within FINTRAC devoted to sniffing out real estate salespeople who do not do FINTRAC’s job for them? Specifically, is there a separate department within the FINTRAC bureaucracy that devotes its entire staff’s duties to catching delinquent Realtors?

    7) Does FINTRAC suspect that real estate salespeople—in general—will turn a blind eye away from reporting a suspected money launderer in their quest of sales commissions? Is this the reason that FINTRAC is zeroing in on the practice of suspecting real estate salespeople—in general—of possibly being complicit in criminal activities?

    8) What is the total and average salary of FINTRAC employees?

    9) How many employees work within the FINTRAC organization?

    10) Is FINTRAC mandated as an ‘analysis’ or a ‘policing’ organization?

    11) what is the total amount of A.M.P.s levied against real estate salespeople to date since FINTRAC’s inception?

    I realize that it might take a couple of days to find the answers to these questions.

    I continue to look forward to your response.

    Respectfully,

    Brian Martindale

    • It has now been over a week since I asked Joane to respond to my questions. As Sabine advised, I did not hold my breath.

      Joane: You took the time to respond to Jorge’s lead article, and that time investment looked good on you and FINTRAC. However, apparently you/FINTRAC do not care enough to become involved in a debate of sorts with the very people with whom you wish to form a symbiotic contract. This is not a good idea, and it is certainly not a good strategic ploy when you and the others at FINTRAC want to establish a good working relationship with over one hundred thousand Realtors across Canada. Your political instincts are not very good on this issue. But, then again, when an agency of the federal government has carte blanche administrative monetary penalty generation resource ability at one’s finger tips, why would one bother from on-high with the riff-raff, when, as FINTRAC’s web site suggests, FINTRAC only hires “the best and brightest” to work within its confines? Do you not think that there may be plenty of “the best and brightest” working within the Realtor ranks, as well as some scum bags and lazy sots? Should not your focus be on the “best and the brightest” from without FINTRAC as well as within?

      I don’t care if you ignore me Joane. I am simply a retiree member of the public who once was a Realtor, among other vocations (including a stint as a government bureaucrat, which provides me with good insight into how your organization functions). But you are ignoring the likes of Jorge (whom you previously deemed worthy of a response) and the other Realtors who have asked for more information herein from you and FINTRAC (which is largely unavailable on FINTRAC’s website). If you think that Realtors—in general—were not in sync with you before, they (as well as the multitudes of enlightened Realtors who read REM regularly and who have been following this story) certainly will not be in sync with you going forward if you continue the stonewalling strategy, which is not really a strategy at all, unless you consider “coping out” to be a strategy. Do not make the fatal mistake of thinking that just because CREAcrats, OREAcrats (Ontario) and local association bureaucrats et al are in bed with you/FINTRAC that the folks who ‘really’ count (in-the-field Realtors in large numbers) are likewise of the same communal mindset. I can assure you that they are not. It is up to you/FINTRAC to try to put things on the right track by at least displaying an attitude of empathy for those from whom you want mass willing participation. Negative reinforcement (A.M.P.’s directed at Realtors) only works on those who possess a criminal mindset to begin with. Positive reinforcement works best with compatriots who want to do the right thing. Your assessment of Realtors’ mass psychology, by-and-large, is ass-backward. Just think of how you view Revenue Canada and its ability to take ‘your’ money, and you might begin to realize how your administrative monetary penalty pronouncements/threats affect Realtors’ assessments of FINTRAC, but ‘not’ money launderers’ fears of same. Criminals will always find ways to circumvent bureaucratic government rules/regulations when there is enough money on the line. That is why crime persists. The rewards are worth the risks.

      Joane: You opened the proverbial “Pandora’s Box” by choice when you responded to Jorge’s article. You really should do something about that and try to repair the damage that you are now daily causing to your/FINTRAC’s cause. Every day that you ignore our questions serves to further undermine your validity as an organization…in Realtors’ eyes. Did you really think that your self-platitudes and polemic style of argument—as Realtors, and I, view them—would do the trick and make Realtors feel all warm and fuzzy about FINTRAC, and leave the box impotently open?

      Man-up/woman-up, and step up to the plate.

      We are waiting, coast-to-coast-to-coast…by the thousands.

      • Brian: I don’t know if Joane takes the job to read these comments after her response. But, in any case, I was looking for her to send her my answer to her letter (that I published here two days ago) via email. But… NO Facebook profile, NO email in the government website, NO email on FINTRAC website… NOTHING. There is only a phone number (613-947-1750) so, I called and I just left her a message. Let’s see if she answers again. Thanks for your comments.

  8. Realtors are law abiding citizens who respect clients, law enforcement and this great country Canada. Therefore there has been over the years compliance with government bureaucracy in filling out documentation required by the relevant Act.
    Realtors work very hard to bring people together to establish a Purchase and Sale of real property. That is the role being performed every day from sea to shining sea.
    Lawyers deal with the laws of the land as do government departments and agencies.
    Banks operate under banking legislation to deal in money. In dealing with other people’s money identification and authorization are paramount, an error can mean a loss of funds, and financial institutions get very excited at the prospect of lost funds.

    Of all these parties who is the most expert in terms of taking and establishing “identification”? I think we all know its’ the bankers.
    Some decades ago, as a banker, I spent years authorizing payments of funds both small and large based on payment orders usually in the form of cheques, that was before the days of bank machines and electronic payments.

    I understand the need – in these days of terrorism, dirty money and cross border crime that information and data banks are needed and important.
    What has baffled me since Fintrac came into existence is, that in the case of real estate, the federal government is asking the most inexperienced group of people, in terms of taking or establishing identification, to just that. They mandate forms of many pages and great detail but do not require the signature of the person being identified.

    Why do passports require a signature? Why do drivers licenses require a signature? Well, because those documents have the purpose of identifying a person.
    A law enforcement official can ask the person to sign their name/signature and can make a comparison,… then being satisfied the signatures are from the same person, can make a decision to accept or not – the document.

    How can an investigator, after the fact, have any confidence that the person involved in the transaction, is the same person indicated in the identifying document(s)?.

    Is this legislation just to allow government unfettered access so they can come and ruffle through Real Estate paperwork at will? Is it a fish pond which has been created?

  9. It just amazes me every time I fill out a Fintrac form and my buyer or seller says “where do I sign this”? If Fintrac was more than a job for well connected civil servants, would you not think they would have figured out by now that a signature is an important part of the ID process? Shocking lack of understanding! Wonder why they are not sharing the number of terrorists caught since inception of this wrong headed, horrendous waste of tax dollars!

  10. Of course, of course. Federal employees are solid on the idea of legislative and regulatory requirements, such as FINTRAC. Not surprisingly, federal employees will and should advocate compliance. And should reiterate the rationale that leads to the implementation of regulatory requirements.

    The problem, is the facts do not justify the requirement. And the response intended by this article does little to inform on there being a basis for the FINTRAC record keeping.

    So where is the gap in the utility of our role as real estate practitioners and the intention of the regulation?

    First, in assigning information on third parties. It is rare that we have a third party and rarer yet that if one exists we have the tools or intuition to conclude they exist.

    Second, we have no ability to ascertain if the identification we review is truly from a reliable government source. We are likely to be fooled before we could truly identify fake identification.

    Thirdly, we are handling…usually, only a small portion of the transaction value in the deposit.

    It would be more valuable to our time and energy if we were only required to undertake the record keeping when there is a risk in the transaction…a larger deposit (say beyond $100,000) or where we suspect a third party regardless of one being identified, or where we have a doubt of any kind.

  11. Wow is Fintrac ever scaring the money launders. 95 penalties for Realtors from 345 investigations. No reported arrests or charges for money lauders.How many hundreds of thousands of transactions have been done in that time frame. I guess that meets the standard of performance of a government department . If that was all they did in the private sector they would have been dissolved long ago. The budget wouldn’t get past the directors. No reports from the legal sector of money lauders caught , oh right they don’t have to report or share that info..

  12. Being a lawyer does not mean you can engage in illegal activity, nor does is shield the client on whose behalf you may be engaging in illegal activity. Who handles the money?

    • i agree with your 1st sentence, the answer from my perspective to the question you have posed here is the Lawyer handles the majority of the $$ in the same fashion as Realtors, bank draft or wire so I cannot figure out why Lawyers shouldn’t abid by Fintac unless they just have a better lobby than Realtors or am
      i missing something?

  13. As usual a non response from a government official, just a pump up of the department. It is plainly obvious from the response that Fintrac is not needed in the Real Estate industry as it exists now. We do not handle the amounts of money that require that level of scrutiny. Lawyers and financial institutions are the only parties that do. All information gathering should only be done at that level. When a buyer approaches a lending institution they must provide all information that is required by Fintrac, in order to qualify for a mortgage. If the transaction is all cash, the buyers lawyer is the party that needs to gather the Fintrac required information, As usual money rules, CREA has let the Real Estate industry down again, by failing to aggressively lobby the government ,to exempt us from Fintrac rules, The banking industry and the legal community have the ear of the government thru their financial contributions for campaigning, and their paid lobbyists, The government of Canada had to show that they are making an effort to stop money laundering, in order to meet International requirements for financing our massive National debt. WE the Real Estate industry are simply the easiest target to show that the government is making the effort to meet the International requirements, Good luck in changing the rules once a beauracy is established. CREA is not going to help. They will continue to tax us ,just like the government , and enjoy their perks of power, while blowing smoke, about how good a job they are doing for Realtors.

  14. Fintrac is taking the easy route by passing the buck to target low hanging fruit(Realtors). Millions of Dollars are funneled through Lawyers trust accounts, how often are they audited. Lawyers are excluded from having to report suspicious transaction, why does Fintrac not try to close that BIG LOOP HOLE?

  15. Nothing concrete in this response and no data to back anything up. Hot news flash for you Joanne….we hate doing your job for you! SAVE THE TREES please!!

  16. I think Jorge’s comments resonate with an overwhelming majority of real estate agents! I also believe the response from the assistant director is proof in itself that they have no legitimate numbers to produce. If someone wanted to launder money in Canada they would and could find a way!

  17. I have not spoken to anyone in the business of Real Estate that does not want a clean and level playing field for all. There is no room for money laundering or terrorist activity in our industry and we want to make tangible efforts to help eradicate this. As a selling Broker I want ethical clients and Realtors to be part of my business and I want to help Fintrac to their job. I think that is part of the disconnect, we as an industry cannot see how me viewing someone drivers license (I am think if I was a money launderer I may be able to get fake id somewhere) and me writing the information down and storing in a file in our office is helping Frintac keep track of them if they are doing similar activity in other regions of the Country. I have suggested to Frintac in the past that it would make Realtors feel better if we would have to input this information into a database so at least some analysis could be done against other databases to verify information and see if this one person is doing multiple transactions in a shorter that average time frame under the same name. Wouldn’t this one step help? and think if this information was shared with CRA since inception, then they could have easily taxed for capital gains in all markets especially in markets where there has been so many issues in the past. I am unsure why Finrtac has not evolved in how we provide the information they require from Realtors in this day of technology. And why is it that Lawyers don’t have to do this reporting now? How does that make sense? Brad Hawker Broker

    • You have to also consider that if someone is willing to commit money laundering on this scale, they won’t think twice before spending a few bucks on a nice fake piece of identification they are more than happy to hand their Realtor. I’m sure that they wouldn’t be using any recommended lawyer either but would already have one in their pocket for these types of transactions.

    • Brad you have made some thoughtful and i must say reasonable comments that I have also wondered from time to time. I have one more comment. It is in fact not helpful that although we are pressed into doing this work for the government without compensation, we are also under threat of severe penalties if we fail in some way to fulfill the requirements set out for us. A data base in this case would definitely make us feel more secure in knowing what we are doing is beneficial and could even help us red flag actionable issues sooner.

      Elaine

  18. Once again, we have the dog chasing it’s tail, nothing will change until the Lawyers are forced to do the FINTRAC paperwork just like Realtors are forced to do. Right now we all know where all the dirty laundry is getting done without a question. Lets have FINTRAC raid the Lawyers offices and see how many scumbags
    they can reel in.

  19. The state have learn for many years to use language as away of control .(terrorism)
    Please publish the list of countries that have not signe the definition of terrorism on the UN
    Political liberty in a citizen is that tranquillity of spirit which comes from the opinion each one has of his security, and in order for him to have this liberty the government must be such that one citizen cannot fear another citisen
    Montesquieu

  20. Hi Joane
    A response with no answers to specifically posed questions is not useful or informative.

    Indicating that FINTRAC has ‘significantly increased its examinations in the real estate sector in the past 2 years’, resulting in the use of less than 2,000 of the millions of pages being filed, does little to answer the specific questions posed in the earlier letter by Jorge.

    Perhaps we should review the now enlarged list of questions, and take another run at it, with data and actual results included in the response.

    In particular, I’d like to know if FINTRAC has ever been audited and what the results were in terms of value received for cost incurred.

    I look forward to your follow-up response.

  21. if FINTRAC has that many employees why arent they collecting the data…ie: WHEN someone is planing to do a real estate transaction they must register with FINTRAC first and FINTRAC forwards the clients info to the Realtor. No FINTRAC, no transaction

  22. Questions for Gov’t Fintrac— Let’s see all the statistics! How many individuals ( buyers or sellers) were charged by collecting Fintrac data since 2009?

    Why wasn’t there any prior discussion with the real estate community before Fintrac was implemented?

    What are the risk to realtors both legally and physically assuming that a buyer or seller was suspected and identified incorrectly to be money laundering.

    Could the brokerage/ realtor be sued by the buyer or seller? Does our errors and omissions insurance cover our legal costs? Could there be physical harm to the realtor his/her family or the brokerage for reporting a suspect ?

    We are realtors not police investigators with no special training to identify suspected money launderers, why are we forced and threatened by Fintrac for none compliance if these are some of the risks to realtors?

  23. Her reply didn’t seem to even try to answer Jorge’s legitimate questions, including the benefit from the $60 million in salaries other than pushing additional administrative work on real estate agents. They seem more focused on penalizing realtors for missing paperwork than they are finding money laundering activities. There certainly should be more audits done but let’s reverse the table and have the audits done on the efficiency of the FINTRAC office.

  24. Fintrac makes us just another unpaid employee for the Federal Government. Business’s are forced to collect taxes for the government and receive a kick in the ass if they are late. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t received the money just pay up. The same is true for RE agents. We have to file more paperwork and get in trouble if we are late. As it happens I found some suspicious transactions before Fintrac and reported them to my Broker. RE Agents are honest and would report something that is wrong. We don’t need to file papers for every transaction. I have better things to do with my time.

  25. The people looking to launder money through real estate go the private sale route. If you want to catch these guys, force the lawyers, notaries and banks to fintrac their clients as well as land titles.

  26. My View! How many burdens will the Federal government place on small businesses in the form of obligations and regulations. The administration of this act is costly and significantly raises the responsibilities of real estate agents and brokerages which if not done well enough or correctly will result in potentially damaging fines. Lets call it what is is…another tax. The federal government should pay for and carrying out the administration of this or they should not expect it to be done since there is little evidence that there is any value to the security of our financial system. Its only merit is for extracting another pound of flesh from small businesses and giving false importance to those who get paid to juice up and enforce Fintrac. The camel back is breaking at the expense of business and we all are the worse for it. Enough with the self righteous demands of excessive regulation.

  27. I will understand the need for FINTRAC the day the same scrutiny happens for private sales. A smart money launderer will surely go the private sale route vs. dealing with us realtors.

  28. Hi Joane:

    What are the results, so far, of the 343 nationwide real estate examinations conducted over the past two years? To be specific: How many money-laundering bad guys did FINTRAC catch?

    According to your statistics, FINTRAC has imposed an average of 9.5 administrative monetary penalties per year against people in real estate and other businesses—nationally—over the past ten years. How many A. M. P.’s—per year on average—have been levied against only real estate salespeople during those same ten years?

    How much are A. M. P.s worth regarding fear of reprisal vis a vis real estate salespeople?

    What is the average A. M. P. amount regarding failure to comply with a paperwork requirement?

    How much of FINTRAC’s resources—percentage wise—are devoted to chasing down sloppy Realtors vs money launderers?

    My questions are not submitted to put you on the defensive and thus make FINTRAC look bad. I am simply curious about how your organization prioritizes its expenditures, both monetarily and human-resource-wise.

    I look forward to your reply.

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