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Twenty-four Attorneys General from states across the country released a letter to Congress calling for an end to anonymous shell companies, a primary vehicle for money laundering and facilitating all manner of crimes. U.S. PIRG applauds this call to action.
“Anonymous shell companies are a favorite tool in many criminals’ tool box, allowing fraudsters, tax dodgers, and worse to hide behind a veil of secrecy,” said Michelle Surka, campaign director with U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “Attorneys General, who often handle these crimes in their own offices, are demanding that the U.S. take action to close this loophole.”
With bipartisan leadership from Attorneys General Cynthia Coffman (R-CO) and Robert Ferguson (D-WA), the letter states that investigations into human trafficking, fraud, drug trade, and other crimes often stall when investigators cannot access information about the real owner of companies used to launder ill-earned money. By requiring companies to provide information about their beneficial owner before incorporation, investigators would be able to better follow the money.
Twenty-four attorneys general have signed the letter calling on Congress to end anonymous companies, including:
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman - Colorado
Attorney General Bob Ferguson - Washington
Attorney General Xavier Becerra - California
Attorney General George Jepsen - Connecticut
Attorney General Matthew Denn - Delaware
Attorney General Karl Racine - District of Columbia
Attorney General Russell Suzuki - Hawaii
Attorney General Lisa Madigan - Illinois
Attorney General Tom Miller - Iowa
Attorney General Janet Mills - Maine
Attorney General Brian Frosh - Maryland
Attorney General Maura Healey - Massachusetts
Attorney General Lori Swanson - Minnesota
Attorney General Jim Hood - Mississippi
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal - New Jersey
Attorney General Hector Balderas - New Mexico
Attorney General Josh Stein - North Carolina
Attorney General Edward Manibusan - Northern Mariana Islands
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum - Oregon
Attorney General Josh Shapiro - Pennsylvania
Attorney General Wanda Vázquez Garced - Puerto Rico
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin - Rhode Island
Attorney General T.J. Donovan - Vermont
Attorney General Mark Herring - Virginia
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Corporate Transparency Act last summer, which would require states or the federal government to collect beneficial ownership information and provide access to that information to law enforcement. Recently, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he aims to make beneficial ownership information accessible to law enforcement within the next six months.
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