Breaking News (2/3/16)-- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) have just introduced legislation to crack down on anonymous corporations.
The legislation comes just days after a shocking 60 Minutes exposé revealing just how easy it is to anonymously launder dirty money through shell corporations.
This is a great step in the right direction but we still need Senator Schumer's critical support to make sure this legislation gets signed into law.
Shell corporations are usually associated with crooked politicians, organized crime, or the super-rich looking to avoid taxes.
But now, thousands of people across the US are being defrauded out of their homes by criminals hiding behind shell corporations.
US law gives shell corporations a veil of secrecy that lets company owners anonymously hide under layers of paperwork, making them the perfect vehicle for fraudsters to conduct their business.
That's why SumOfUs has partnered with Global Witness to ask New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to introduce a bill in the Senate that would end the secrecy surrounding shell and anonymous companies. His support is key for this bill to move forward. Luckily, he is now extra receptive to public opinion as he builds a national profile to become the next Senate Democratic leader.
Will you join the calls asking Sen. Chuck Schumer to introduce a Senate bill that would end the secrecy surrounding shell corporations?
Ozella Campbell is a victim of these shell companies. Partially paralyzed and in debt, she signed over her home to a company that offered to take it off her hands and pay her debt. Today she's still hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and living in a garage in Brooklyn. When her family tried to contact the company, they found no such business existed on the address listed in official documents.
Shell corporations are extremely easy to incorporate, and require no disclosure of the identity of their true owners. In fact, the owner of these corporations can be other shell corporations, adding layers upon layers of paperwork hiding the real owners.
In New York City alone, officials are investigating over 120 cases of fraud using shell corporations, but lawyers estimate there are thousands of cases that haven't even been investigated.
The layers of secrecy and the number of cases have overwhelmed the capacity of authorities to investigate the crimes. It's an epidemic.
Click here to call on Sen. Chuck Schumer to introduce much-needed legislation aimed at ending the secrecy around shell companies.
If we want to prevent further housing fraud and give justice to homeowners like Ozella Campbell, stronger legislation is needed to shed light on the true owners of these corporations and bring them to justice for their crimes.
The SumOfUs community is known for fighting the abuses of major corporations around the world,
and the same 'no questions asked' rules that allow the world's biggest companies to hide their dirty laundry also allow criminals and militant groups to operate under the radar. That's why it's crucial that we come together to not only follow the money and target corporate abuse wherever it is, but also fight to change the very system that makes many corporations such corrupt and unaccountable institutions.
Getting Sen. Chuck Schumer to champion a bill aimed at ending the secrecy surrounding shell corporations would be a huge step toward reforming our deeply broken system.
Real Estate Shell Companies Scheme to Defraud Owners Out of Their Homes, The New York Times, November 7, 2015
Moves To Stop Corrupt Politicians and Criminals From Hiding Behind Anonymous U.S. Shell Companies Welcomed, Global Witness, November 14, 2014