SF CBS Local report….
The raids culminate a months long investigation focusing on dozens of Chinese nationals who bought homes in seven counties. Most of the buyers were in the country legally and came from as far away as Georgia, Illinois New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said.
Much of the pot was shipped back to those states through Atlanta, Chicago and New York City.
“This criminal organization has put a tremendous amount of equity into these homes through these wire transfers coming in from China and elsewhere,” Scott said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We’re going to take it. We’re going to take the house. We’re going to take the equity.”
None of the buyers was arrested as authorities seized the houses in what the U.S. Department of Justice called one of the largest residential forfeiture operations ever. Prosecutors will now ask judges to transfer ownership to the U.S. government.
Authorities were trying to learn if the buyers were brought to the United States for the purpose of buying the houses and were indebted to the criminal organization. They are not ruling out criminal charges but have filed none at this stage of the investigation.
Down payments were financed by money wired from Fujian Province in China, authorities said. Many of the transfers stayed just below the $50,000 limit imposed by the Chinese government.
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