Dozens of estate agents have been fined more than £500,000 for breaching anti-money laundering requirements, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced.
HMRC named the 68 estate agents that have been fined a total of £519,645 for not complying with rules designed to stop criminals laundering money from illegal activity.
The fines followed the first prosecution of an estate agent for trading despite not registering with HMRC, to ensure compliance with money laundering regulations.
Felix Uwuigbe, director of Century House Estates Ltd in London, was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid community service and banned from acting as an estate agent for two years after he was convicted of trading for three months while unregistered.
Nick Sharp, HMRC’s deputy director of economic crime, said: “We are determined to create a level playing field for businesses who play by the rules. That means taking action against the minority of businesses who fail to fulfil their legal responsibilities under the money laundering regulations.
“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. Our regulations are there to protect businesses from those criminals who would prey on their services to wash their dirty money.
“Serious and organised crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year and our anti-money laundering supervision is a vital tool in combatting that.”
The full list of businesses not complying with money laundering regulations is published on GOV.UK and sees 175 businesses receiving penalties totalling £2,180,708.
The list was previously published in May 2022, which saw 147 businesses, including 41 estate agents, receive penalties totalling almost £800,000.
Among the estate agencies to receive a penalty were Roman James, Laming Hope Residential, Stacey Mann Estates, Edison Green Estate Agents, Ayr Estate & Letting Agents, Horton Estate Agents, Knight & Knoxley, Arden & Way, Lamberts Estate Agents, among others.
Horton was ordered to pay the largest fine of £53,400 for failing to apply for registration, Knight & Knoxley was ordered to pay £29,000, while Roman James Estates was hit with a fine of almost £25,000.
HMRC is currently investigating a number of other cases of businesses failing to register whilst trading, which could lead to prison sentences of up two years and an unlimited fine.
Comments are closed.