Letters

Letters

Close loopholes that make empty apartments a draw for money launderers

Fixing Boston’s crazy real estate market is a complicated proposition, but there’s one step that should be easy: stopping empty apartments from being used to launder money (“Boston luxury, minus Bostonians”).

Anonymous shell companies let criminals, tax evaders, and big campaign donors hide their identity. It has long been known that anonymous companies use real estate transactions to move money. And since there is no record of who owns these companies, they are an ideal method for hiding illicit funds from law enforcement.

Since 2016, Miami and New York City have been cracking down on real estate transactions involving anonymous shell companies, and found 30 percent of the deals involved people who had been the subject of “suspicious activity reports” — reports filed by banks after individuals behave in a way that raises flags for money laundering. Perhaps those money launderers moved up here to hide their dirty money.

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Congress should immediately end loopholes that let companies form with no record of who owns them. It’s an idea that all our state and federal officials should get behind.

Deirdre Cummings

Legislative director

Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group

Boston