Washington, D.C. – November 17, 2003 – The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is providing an innovative tool to help its members protect their companies from inadvertently engaging in transactions with terrorists, drug dealers and other criminals specifically banned by the government.
In its on- going effort to assist members in complying with federal legislative and regulatory requirements, ARDA is offering a robust and cost effective hi-tech software and compliance service to help avoid banned transactions. Through an arrangement with KnightGUARDIAN LLC, a subsidiary of ARDA Trustee Member Holland & Knight LLP, for using this total compliance solution to navigate the frequently confusing requirements and process, ARDA’s 900 member companies can take advantage of special pricing.
"The post 9-11 world is a different place," said Howard C. Nusbaum, President and Chief Executive Officer of ARDA. "September eleventh taught us just how sophisticated terrorists and other criminals have become, and we in timeshare must be vigilant and protect against potential terrorist activity and criminal investments in our industry while meeting government requirements."
As part of what it calls "the first line of defense against terrorism," the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) now requires businesses involved in either residential or commercial real estate transactions to ensure that no one with whom they do business is identified as a terrorist or is otherwise involved in criminal activity.
According to Chris Myers, a partner in Holland & Knight’s White Collar and Corporate Compliance National Practice Group, "U.S. and international law enforcement authorities have made it clear that money launderers and other criminals are targeting real estate investments to further their illegal activities."
OFAC states that even inadvertent violations of its regulations can result in steep fines and possible jail terms. Civil and criminal penalties can be put at a million dollars or more.
John Burlingame, ARDA Chairman, said "timeshare companies, both large and small, must recognize the possibility that terrorists, money launderers, and other criminals may try to use investments in our properties to further their criminal activities. The sheer number of people, entities and locations with which we are prohibited from doing business requires us to use a technology like that offered by this product."
KnightGUARDIAN’s case management system, available consulting and due diligence distinguish it from other options.
"Our members need to clearly understand the legal requirements and how to avoid violations. The penalties for making even an inadvertent mistake could be disastrous to the individual business and to the industry," said Nusbaum.
KnightGUARDIAN LLC, based in McLean, VA, is a compliance solution provider specializing in OFAC and Patriot Act compliance programs. The company provides a complete compliance solution designed to fit seamlessly within a client’s existing business workflow process. Its flagship product, KnightGUARDIAN, provides an effective and economical way to search for banned parties and evidence the compliance process.
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is a non-profit trade association based in Washington, D.C. ARDA represents the interests of resort developers and managers, including second-home resorts, vacation timeshare developers, fractional interests, timeshare homeowners associations, and individual timeshare owners across the country.
View the press release here.