America’s cities are being bought up, bit by bit, by anonymous shell companies using piles of cash. Modest single-family homes, owned for generations by families, now are held by corporate vehicles with names that appear to be little more than jumbles of letters and punctuation –such as SC-TUSCA LLC, CNS1975 LLC – registered to law offices and post office boxes miles away. New glittering towers filled with owned but empty condos look down over our cities, as residents below struggle to find any available housing.
All-cash transactions have come to account for a quarter of all residential real estate purchases, “totaling hundreds of billions of dollars nationwide,” the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network – the financial crimes unit of the federal Treasury Department, also known as FinCEN– noted in a 2017 news release. Thanks to the Bank Secrecy Act, a 1970 anti-money-laundering law, the agency is able to learn who owns many of these properties. In high-cost cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami, it’s flagged over 30% of cash purchases as suspicious transactions. But FinCEN also cites this bill to hide this information from the public, leaving the American people increasingly in the dark about who owns their cities.
This is from my mostly weekly SF Update. If you’d like to get these in your inbox, use the form here: www.jamesaaron.net/list/
Hey, how are you?
I hope the holidays have been treating you well.
Today I’m leading with updates, since I’ve got a new book coming out soon.
Galactic Law 1 is coming really soon on 1/12/20. This is the first book in the Galactic Law series, which will be coming fast and furious across the next two months.
The story follows Gage Walker, a new Sheriff’s Deputy on Taurus Station. Think Las Vegas on the edge of known space.
Lethal force is authorized.
In the wild space of the Deadlands, Taurus Station is where miners and tourists come to play, and the ravager gangs follow close behind. Out here, far from the civilized world, the Law has a name.
Gage Walker is the son of hard-nosed asteroid miners. Brash, rough, and crude, he’s one of the few deputies working the station.
Still a rookie, Walker is tasked with the security of a mining magnate’s daughter, an easy job that quickly takes a turn for the worst.
The ravager gangs want her, and it falls to Walker to find out why.
In a chase across Taurus Station, Deputy Walker must prove he’s fit to wear the badge and issue his own form of justice…one body at a time.
Experience this exciting beginning to a brand new series set in the Renegade Star universe. If you’re a fan of Judge Dredd, Renegade Star, or Borderlands, you’ll love this epic, scifi thriller.
This series draws on my own experience working with law enforcement, as well as a love of westerns like Young Guns, Tombstone, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and a strong dose of Star Trek, Buck Rogers and Star Wars.
I’ll send more info on the launch day.
Another cool thing I have to share is a free novel from Scott Moon. If you love mechs and mech battles, you should check out his Shorty series. The first book is currently free for a short time:
by Scott Moon
Free for a short time
Bravery isn’t built. It’s forged.
On a planet plagued by perpetual war, where a mech is a prerequisite for survival, there is one simple rule: Be bigger than the other guy or get your ass kicked.
At just seventeen measly tons, Shorty doesn’t measure up. His enemies can level cities and punch holes through mountains. They can reshape the world on a whim. They wouldn’t be caught dead in an overgrown trashcan like Shorty.
But Shorty isn’t interested in the rule of size.
He knows heart isn’t measured in pounds of steel. Bravery isn’t found in the finest machined parts. Glory isn’t just for giants.
Shorty has a new rule, and he’s about to teach it to everyone.
Ass-kicking doesn’t have a size requirement.
Thanks for being a reader!