British Columbia’s Opposition New Democrats are calling on Premier Christy Clark to launch a task force to fight tax
fraud and money laundering in real estate.
NDP Leader John Horgan says for a relatively low cost the province could launch an integrated team of police, Crown prosecutors and auditors that would investigate and prosecute criminal activity in B.C.’s overheated housing market.
He says federal agency FINTRAC has a warehouse full of evidence of tax evasion and fraud but it doesn’t have a mandate to prosecute, and the province has failed to aggressively pursue rogue Realtors, companies and investors.
Clark was set to announce measures to strengthen consumer protection, and Horgan says if she doesn’t launch a task force then the NDP will if it wins next May’s election.
An independent panel released a report on real estate agent misconduct Tuesday that made 28 recommendations, including increased fines of up to $250,000 for individual Realtors and $500,000 for brokerages.
Horgan says the NDP fully supports the recommendations but the report didn’t address the root causes of B.C.’s affordability crisis, including speculative investment, foreign cash, tax evasion and money laundering.