We previously reported that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) had quietly extended its Geographic Targeting Orders directed at the luxury residential real estate market for another six months. In a break from its recent practice of making public announcements about GTOs, FinCEN evidently opted not to publicize this latest extension. A Miami Herald article reported that a FinCEN spokesperson stated only that “GTOs are a valuable tool and FinCEN is extending the current GTOs to continue studying this vulnerability.”
In order to seek to obtain additional information regarding the latest round of GTOs, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to FinCEN seeking copies of the GTOs that were set to take effect on March 21, 2018. In response, FinCEN refused to provide copies of the GTOs or any information regarding their scope. FinCEN relied upon the FOIA exemption for “records compiled for law enforcement purposes,” which allows a federal agency to withhold records if their release “would disclose techniques and/or procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law.”
We continue to monitor developments in this area and will provide updates as they become available.