MONEY LAUNDERING AND REAL ESTATE in JAMAICA

Money Laundering as defined by Sec 3 (1) of the Money Laundering Act 1998 is where a person(a) engages in a transaction that involves property that is derived from the commission of a specified offence; or if that person(b) acquires, possesses, uses, conceals, disguises, disposes of or brings into Jamaica, any such property; or (c) converts or transfers that property or removes it from Jamaica, and the person knows, at the time he engages in the transaction referred to in paragraph (a) or at the time he does any act referred to in paragraph (b) or (c), that the property is derived or realized directly, or indirectly from the commission of a specified offence. “Property” as defined in section 2 of the said act includes money and all other property, real or personal, including things in action and other interpretation.

The need for the establishment of this act represents Jamaica taking a stand against money laundering which has affected varying industries, families and businesses. One such is the real estate market which has led the Real Estate Board in Jamaica to implement measures as to how to deal with it when it is found to exist in carrying out real estate transactions.

Jamaica‘s Anti Money Laundering regulations places the onus on dealers to report suspicious activity, with red flags, including clients who fail to provide satisfactory personal information; clients who are agents or intermediaries for mystery persons or entities; and those who have criminal records or are known to be under investigation. The Anti Money Laundering inspectorate will be responsible for monitoring the activities of real estate dealers and salesmen to deter money laundering and terrorism financing via the real estate industry.

Money laundering is an unlawful act that adversely affects the real estate sector in that it causes the real estate sector to reflect a somewhat bogus reality of what the actual market and economy is like and further depresses economic growth. It poses difficulty for economic policy makers in gaining a true understanding of the state of the economy and policy making.

Money laundering increases the level of crime and higher crime and corruption reduces economic growth in that a state rigged with crime is a huge deterrence for foreign investors which in turn generate foreign exchange. Thus, more money laundering increase the risk of macro on economic instability likes instability in exchange rate, monetary aggregates and general price levels.

Therefore, when criminals attempt to make dirty money clean through investing in various properties on the real estate market, it also severely affects the economy.

Therefore, if you suspect anyone of money laundering , you may report them to the Anti Money Laundering Unit.