# Entrepreneur of the Week Tomer Maor # Post 5
Well this is probably the title that seems to you the most detached that can be. Promises to have a connection.
Because today's topic is: US bank accounts (here you begin to understand the connection, but the shit will come soon). This is probably the longest post I have had, but it's both because it's last before the summary post and also because it's a very important topic. Because what is more important than money ???? (Okay, health, happiness, but it has nothing to do with the forum here).
So you decided to start investing in real estate in the US. You have been told to open an LLC (and also explained to you what a registered agent is and how to proceed properly so as not to lose protections). You learned market, analyzed trades, and here it was time to go for it. There's a deal! How do you transfer money? where? Where from? And more importantly - how will you get the money ??
Obviously! Bank Account. Very easy! (or not).
So let's stop for a second and dwell on why it's at all difficult to open US bank accounts (remotely, or even at all).
With your permission, I will take you a little back in time: 9.11.2001 (Please note, the date is listed in American format. Read the numbers from left to right and it will ring familiar). After the attacks, US captains sat down and realized that terrorism had to be fought in any way. And because America is a state governed by the rule of law, it is impossible to act without a law authorizing the administration to act in a certain way.
So in America as in America, act fast. 45 days after the attacks, the following is published:
UNITING AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA BY PROVIDING APPROPRIATE TOOLS REQUIRED TO INTERCEPT AND OBSTRUCT TERRORISM ACT OF 2001
But America loves short names, so: US PATRIOT ACT. A short 342 (!!) page long law, which aims, well, to fight terrorism. Or allow America to fight terrorism by force of law. This law introduced several powers and changes to existing procedures in the United States: citation and surveillance powers (wiretapping); Border protection and change of immigration policy; "Removal of obstacles" related to the investigation of terrorists (decide for yourself what this means); But the two most important things about the banks that the law introduced:
1. INTERNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERING ABATEMENT AND ANTITERRORIST FINANCING ACT OF 2001
2. Bank Secrecy Act Amendments and Related Improvements
So how does all this relate to us ???
Because this law has quite fundamentally changed the obligations imposed on the banking system in opening bank accounts. The main interest is around customer identification. The main reason for this is that the Americans discovered that a very large portion of the money used for the attacks came from the United States itself, from accounts in American banks. Under the law and regulations issued under it, each bank is required to develop a customer identification protocol under which it is required to operate. This protocol should be appropriate to the size of the bank and the type of activity in it.
So different banks are committed to a different protocol (which should be proportional to size and activity). Therefore, banks such as the Bank of America, for example, state that it is not possible to open an account without a physical presence and residence in the United States. Yes, the Bank of America says: "" You must be living in the US in order to open an account.
Okay, time for some stories - cases that have come to my attention (fake names yes? Remember the patent):
Yoav and Gil have an LLC. Yoav and Gil wanted an account at a large bank in the United States, so they turned to hiring the services of Gaoni Banks Ltd. Wow, within two days Yoav and Gil received their email details and username and password by email! They have a Bank of America account! Not for long as they say.
The bank discovered that the account had been opened in violation of its procedures and Hope - closed it without notice.
Geniuses Banks Ltd. did not give up: it took responsibility and opened another large bank for them. there is! Account opened. Well, you already know - Not for long.
Another story: Because of the difficulty of opening a remote account, many people open an account using a proxy. An accountant, a lawyer, or "just an emissary" (from the language of a mission, yes?). So did Abram, who through his (American) accountant opened a company and the latter also opened a bank account for him for the company.
Funds went into the company's account, and Abram occasionally asked his accountant - who was the only one who had access to the account - to transfer money to his country.
When Abram arrived in the United States to visit, his accountant asked to meet at the bank to change his signature authorization and allow Abram to gain access to his account. The accountant told stories and they did not meet, and continued in the previous format: Abram asks, the accountant passes.
Slowly, the accountant stopped answering the phones. Funds have accumulated in the account. Abram calls the bank. "Sorry, do not know you, not your company but the accountant's." Calls the accountant - does not answer. Dodging and dodging.
Abram did the right thing: turn to a lawyer for help. The same lawyer wrote long posts on Facebook for his enjoyment, took the case to court and picked up the phone to the accountant - who answered the call. A friendly conversation and a lovely guy, and at the end the accountant tells me that he took all the money out of the account because he received a warning letter (he is of course also the Registered Agent) against the company, got scared, and took out all the money.
"Wow thank you very much!" I told him cynically. "why did not you say"? I asked.
"I was scared." He replied, “Have something like a few thousand in mind, tell me where to move.
According to Abram's calculations, there was a much higher amount there.
So we started checking. At the end of the day, after the bank itself refused to talk to us because "Abram's company is not" I was able to get an answer through the bank's legal counsel. And not just an answer: I found out that the account was closed, and I was able to obtain all the account documents - all the transactions all the years.
Calling Abram: "Abram, how was last year in Italy?" Abram answers me: "I was not in Italy, what are you talking about?" Well Abram, your girlfriend probably was…
Equipped with all the information and all the transactions made from the company's account to the accountant's private account, I dial him once more. "How are you friend?? How's the weather? When are you coming to Boston for coffee? ” I strike up a friendly and friendly conversation. "Come, explain to me again what happened."
The accountant repeats the story. Warning letter, emptied account, etc. "On what date did you receive the letter?" I ask, and the accountant replies. “But at that time there were only $ 80 in the account. Where's the money???. Silence from the other side.
Embezzlement from the movies.
After a few seconds of silence, I tell him, “Listen, you got really tangled up. If we report it, you will be really bad. ” And he answers for his part: “I got involved ??? It's your customer who got into trouble !! ”.
"How exactly did he get involved?" I ask. he answers:
“An Israeli with a bank account in the US ???? Lea Rabin !!!! ”
I burst out laughing and explained to my friend that a lot of water has passed through the Yarkon since…
We were able to return the money and some more expenses to Abram. The honor of the accountant no one will answer.
Do not open a bank account in Combina. Do not open a bank account with a power of attorney. You and only you should have access to the account. Anyone who offers you accounts at banks that you know can not be opened - do not go with him. So yes, you will not have a bank account at Bank of America or a major bank. But at least you will have a legal account that is yours and yours alone.
Pictured: Two months before the other partner joined, where the difficulty of opening bank accounts remotely began.