Federal audit looks at Vancouver Real Estate transactions

Vangrl pointed out this story in the Province:

Vancouver’s booming real estate industry is being targeted in a federal money-laundering audit that could potentially lead to massive fines and jail time for realtors.

Ottawa’s increased examination of Vancouver real estate deals has been under way for several months and has been revealed in a Province investigation that obtained rare internal data and risk-analysis reports from Canada’s financial intelligence unit, Fintrac.

Documents obtained under access to information law — and The Province’s interviews with a wide array of B.C. real estate professionals, money laundering experts and Fintrac officials — suggest dramatic under-reporting of large cash transactions and suspicious transactions that realtors and developers are responsible to make to the federal government.

“We have significantly increased our examinations in the Vancouver area,” a Fintrac official said. “Our compliance people are not happy.”

Read the full article here.

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Burnaby Bear

24 YLTNboomerang:

I have only purchased and sold one property so I am not a player, but I can tell you that in both transactions, my realtor had no idea of my financial situation and I did not even talk to the other realtor!

Your comment to PaulB is complete hyperbole.

And no, I don’t know Paul.


I appreciate your dedication to providing stats on this blog and had always intended on using you in the future should I ever buy in the future but that just went up with your comment which was pretty much equivalent to:

I didn’t hand him the drugs that killed him or take the money, I just facilitated the deal and was paid a commission so I’m alright. If the deal looks sketchy and smells sketchy, don’t stand behind a technicality and turn a blind eye. This is the difference between true “professionals” and realtors, engineers doctors and the like are held to the spirit of the law not the letter.


As Edmund Burke said: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

In the case of money laundering/tax evasion etc, we effectively do nothing by inventing a complex legal and regulatory framework that diffuses and obscures responsibility and is difficult to enforce. It is absurd to charge the foxes with overseeing the chicken coup in expectation of good result for the coop or its chickens. Et voilà! We have West Pt Grey, West Vancouver, etc.


Anastasia Lin: a Falun Gong practitioner seeking the Miss World crown – in China



Crikey, who in the Senate holds duel citizenship? What is the breakdown by race, culture and religion? Yknow it’s all about influence.

Property is ephemeral, and not the legal definition of Real Estate. If the Senator has a mortgage perhaps the forum reader will rest easier knowing the Senator is a debt slave too.

What then is the ratio of Senators to indebtedness? and how does it differ from the Van Real Estate players. What is the measure when assessing a politician, knowing which side he plays for? Cant count on the media to inform us, with facts and stats. This is the real problemm. Quality info is hoarded, monetized, bought and sold.



Amazing that people believe and up-vote your fake anecdotes.


I didn’t see talk of it here, but did you hear about Harper’s lawyer’s testimony a week or so ago? The lawyer testified that apparently Harper had previously asked him what the legal requirements are to appoint somebody to the Senate (representing a given province). The lawyer’s advice to Harper touched on various requirements, including citizenship, longstanding community exposure (in the given representative province), a longtime principal address in that province, etc, etc, etc. What was Harper’s response to his own lawyer who gave this advice? NO NO NO, all anybody needs is to own $4000 worth of property in a given province! That’s it! Any person with $4000 in property can be a senator representing a province, everything else be damned! ” “Harper took the position, testified Perrin, that an 1867 clause in the Constitution Act that a senator… Read more »


I think you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find even one Realtor in Vancouver that wouldn’t admit that some transactions that are happening on the West Side of Vancouver, including West Van, don’t seem a little suspicious.

Someone is gonna crack eventually, and it will be a bombshell …



Not my job but chit chat over lunch today with a colleague of mine. ..tells me he repo a Rolls Royce yesterday in Point Gray. ..he never repo so many 6 figure cars in 20 yrs as he has this year. All Asians


Property sales spike sparks money laundering fears


An article from April that is interesting to read now.


A student visa is an easy way to start the citizenship path. Many of these kids will get work permits, then PR, and citizenship. They will enter the workforce with high expectations of concuring the world. But once the reality of office drugery sets in they’ll simple quit and live of mom and dad’s (who they have sponsered by now) money and the welfare state.

I’ve seen it happen more than once at my office.


I heard a young couple attending university in Vancouver want to buy a house, just curious how the money transfer to Canada, of course parents will pay for it.
Drive me crazy,they are both with student visas


Lawyers have managed to exempt themselves from the money laundering regs. Coz the client/lawyer relationship is so sacred, wouldn’t you know.

How convenient.

Meanwhile banks and realtors and accountants are NOT exempt and no one can bring in $5M to buy a high priced house without the knowledge of one of these three.

Likely they are turning a blind eye, as they know there is such lax enforcement. I will believe Harper’s belated conversion when they haul away the first banker to jail and disbar a few realtors and remove the lawyer exemption.

All unlikely.

Egg Hunt

Stefano Ricci, Versace, it is stale pimp-loved Italian brand, only welcomed in Vancouver, I am stunned.


Canadian Business magazine; “Canada needs a stand-alone agency to deal with asset-price bubbles” “The Bank of Canada doesn’t seem particularly alarmed by housing debt levels” http://www.canadianbusiness.com/blogs-and-comment/bank-of-canada-housing-bubble-prices/ “One of Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s deputies spoke about housing this week. Lawrence Schembri was disarmingly calm while tackling a subject that can easily lead to hysterics. There was no mention of bubbles or irrational exuberance, suggesting the central bank continues to believe that the situation is under control.” “There are those who think otherwise. But Schembri’s speech showed that the Bank of Canada remains more concerned about the 18% plunge in Canadian commodity prices this year than the 10% jump in the average national resale price of homes since 2013.” “When you hear economists and central bankers talk about “macroprudential policy,” this is what they are talking about. In the aftermath… Read more »



Does the average reported income in Vancouver justify this retailer whose only other locations are NYC and Beverly Hills?

This retailer knows that there is huge money in Vancouver and its not the local resident taxpayer who has it. That same money is responsible for real estate prices, and also for al the luxury car dealerships.

renters rule

As the article explains — tossing the transactions over to the lawyers meets the loophole requirement, to eliminate the appropriate scrutiny. Meanwhile realtors can pretend they have no ‘splainin to do….

Very disingenuous comment Paul B.

“we’re not P.I.’s”

Gotta say, I am a bit disappointed with you Paul B, although I guess…. this is how you make your living. May God have mercy on your soul.

Shut It Down Already

11k party next Tuesday!

Burnaby Bear

3 ex-kitsie: I have to side with PaulB. It’s the lawyers who handle the funds in a real estate transaction. The most the realtor might do is hand over a client’s cheque for a deposit. I can’t imagine anyone handing over a briefcase of cash to a realtor, it would happen in the lawyer’s office. And the lawyer would then write a trust cheque to the vendor for the purchase amount.

6 Gov ment: The Federal revenues are down in the billions of dollars, auditing a few real estate transactions in Vancouver is not going to make a dent in that!

Gov ment

Fact the feds income has sunk due to oil crash. ..as a result watch for CRA and various Gov seeking revenue from non reported suite income to money laundering in Real Estate. ..they will and need money. .watch out folks my sister works for CRA and this is the primary focus now

Spot the bandit

The only reason I could think of to hand an agent cash would be to take a shortcut on the open bid system and I doubt that’s happening much if at all.

Spot the bandit

I guess the real question is why would you use cash in a real estate transaction? The property is owned by someone and its easy to find out how much was paid, so what’s the advantage of using cash? Anyone with half a brain would have their money washed long before the real estate transaction.


It is more than a bit disingenuous to say “realtors never touch any money”. The transactions are facilitated by the real estate supposed professional and, although you are not “p.i.’s” it is obvious that many transactions are being financed in ways that are not entirely on the up and up and that any reasonable person would be able to spot them. If one chooses not to look I guess you don’t see it. (I, by the way, worked for one of Vancouver’s largest developers at one time and did see people with the storied briefcases full of cash – we just didn’t handle it).


Realtor’s have to ID their clients (DL or passport) and fill out the proper Fintrac form. We never touch any money. Hate on Realtors all you want but we help people buy and sell houses, we’re not P.I’s.
Anyways… 🙂

New Listings 162
Price Changes 47
Sold Listings 187




A lot of fuss about nothing. Watch, nothing will come of this because there isn’t much cash changing hands, it’s all checks and transfers that are already known about. This is just a reporter trying to get a story rolling and bring in some eyeballs.