Miami, New York Log Highest Rates of Suspicious Luxury Real Estate Buys

The year-old federal program has linked one in three all-cash purchases in major U.S. cities to shady shell companies

Obscuring his identity behind a limited liability company and a business manager, Venezuelan vice president and drug kingpin Tareck El Aissami used proceeds from narcotics trafficking, according to the U.S. government, to acquire around $7 million in luxury condos at the tallest building in Miami.

Between 2011 and 2013, he snapped up three units at the Millennium Tower, totaling 8,600 square feet and seven bedrooms. They include sweeping views of the city from an enviable 64th-floor corner unit. They were exactly the kind of shady transactions involving lavish real estate and opaque shell companies that the U.S. Treasury Department is now trying to unearth through a year-old pilot program that has found Miami filled with suspicious activity.

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