Attorney General Hector Balderas
ALBUQUERQUE — Attorney General Hector Balderas Thursday joined a bipartisan group of 24 attorneys general to urge leadership of the House Financial Services Committee to advance legislation improving transparency of shell corporations by requiring them to disclose who controls and profits from their activities.
Too often, anonymous shell corporations allow criminals to launder money without accountability.
“These shell companies are a safety net for bad actors who don’t play by the rules,” Balderas said. “My office is leading efforts to protect New Mexicans by addressing the opioid epidemic, combating human trafficking and investigating and prosecuting other crimes. Unfortunately investigations can stall when these companies are used to hide the identity of the individual or individuals who control or profit from the company. I urge Congressional leaders to fight for transparency, and protect New Mexicans.”
According to a report released earlier this year by Polaris, an organization that works to eradicate human trafficking worldwide, current law in the U.S. allows trafficking operations like illicit massage parlors to hide their beneficial owners, and “flourish in secrecy, shielding traffickers from law enforcement and prosecution.” Polaris estimated more than 9,000 parlors operate nationwide, with nearly $2.5 billion in earnings.
AG Balderas is joined in this letter by the attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.