Legislation addresses shell companies, illicit activity

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Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) recently reintroduced the Corporate Transparency Act, maintaining the measure would prevent individuals from using shell companies to engage in illicit activities like money laundering, sex trafficking, fraud, and terrorist financing.

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The bill would require certain corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) to disclose their beneficial owners to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) at formation by providing basic biographical information like name, date of birth, address and driver’s license or passport number.

“Law enforcement in my home state of Florida, including in Miami, know all too well that criminals readily use shell companies to remain anonymous and hide nefarious activity,” Rubio said. “I am proud to reintroduce this bill that targets criminals hiding behind shell companies to engage in illicit activities like human trafficking, healthcare fraud, transnational corruption, and terrorist financing.”

Rubio said it is imperative law enforcement has the basic information, tools, and authorities at its disposal to identify and disrupt criminal acts that put communities and national security at risk.

“Anonymous shell companies have facilitated rampant criminality, including real estate deals being used to launder illicit funds,” Wyden said. “Our bill would provide a straightforward solution by ending the anonymity and registering the owners of these companies on day one. Ending anonymous shell companies would make it easier for law enforcement to follow the money when investigating complex financial crimes.”

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