NAR Pushes Congress to Crack Down on Money Laundering
Globally, real estate is one of the “laundromats” of choice for criminals seeking to legitimize their ill-gotten funds. Using shell companies and other shady venues, they annually funnel more than $1.6 trillion into real estate investments around the world. Despite federal efforts to crack down on the illegal transactions in the United States, money launderers continue paying top-dollar for purchases, driving up real estate prices in many cities.
NAR and other housing groups are urging Congress to stem the tide of dirty money by passing effective anti-money-laundering legislation. The organization is also launching an education campaign to help Realtors® identify the risks to their businesses and use best practices to protect themselves against liability.
As Wire Fraud Grows, NAR Helps Consumers Fight Back
Wire and title fraud are proliferating as cyber-scammers use increasingly sophisticated schemes to steal money from home buyers. Posing as Realtors®, attorneys, and title company professionals, the criminals con buyers into diverting their closing payments to fraudulent banks, many of them operating overseas. Victims often lose life savings that cannot be recovered by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
To help increase consumer awareness, NAR has partnered with the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud to provide educational resources. They also offer these useful tips to help Realtors® counsel their clients:
- Inform clients about the growing threat of real estate wire transfer fraud.
- Educate clients about the entire wiring process. Emphasize that you will not email changes about wiring instructions or payment information.
- Instruct clients to call you and confirm all wiring instructions. Also have them call you after completing all wire transfers.
- Be ready for fraud with a rapid response plan.
Visit the Protect Your Money page on the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud website to learn more about planning.
Minnesota Realtors® Continues COVID-19 Response Efforts at the Capitol
From the earliest days of the pandemic in March 2020, MNR advocated for members to be considered “essential,” allowing the state’s real estate market to keep functioning.
“Throughout the year and looking ahead to the 2021 Session, MNR will continue engaging in discussions regarding the State of Minnesota’s response to COVID-19. This will ensure our members’ interests, and those of their buyer and seller clients, are considered,” said Paul Eger, MNR vice president of Government Affairs.
During the 2021 Session, MNR will partner with allied groups to address issues arising from previous and existing COVID-19 response legislation and emergency executive orders. This includes matters impacting the ownership, use, and transfer of real property, such as suspension of court deadlines,* and the eviction moratorium emergency executive order, EO 20-79.
*2020 Session Law Chapter 74
Fighting Implicit Bias and Fair Housing Violations
The legacy of racism and discriminatory practices in the real estate industry casts a long shadow that continues to impact ethnic groups and other protected classes today. Because awareness begins with experience, NAR rolled out a training tool that immerses Realtors® in simulations where they face discrimination in the fictional town of Fairhaven. Intended to encourage compliance with fair housing laws and inclusive business practices, the tool is available at Fairhaven: A Fair Housing Simulation.