South Florida’s Russian connection extends from businesses to real estate and that could be directly impacted by sanctions imposed on Russian assets in the U.S.
"For example, a Russian person. That person’s condo, aircraft can be seized at any moment by the U.S. government," Ed Patricoff, partner at Duane Morris Law Firm said.
Patricoff specializes in asset forfeiture. He says these types of sanctions have taken place before against countries like Venezuela.
"The proposed sanctions are similar to sanctions seen in the past," Patricoff said.
Wealthy Russians that can be linked to the Kremlin could have their assets frozen in the U.S. and that could have a trickle effect.
“It actually trickles down to others in the community, not just the affected person on the list, but it could also harm people here in the South Florida community who do business with these people.”
Patricoff said finding those assets could be difficult as many of those assets are linked to shell companies that are based in other countries.
"There's a bit of wealth all over the U.S. by Russians,” Patricoff said. “The challenge will be to find all of them."
In Sunny Isles, where about eight percent of residents speak Russian as their first language, realtor Jose Lima said he noticed a transaction that took longer than normal, a wire transfer for an $18,000 a month rental.
“This is from the past week they start doing that,” Lima said. “Usually money gets here in a few hours, most one day. This is my first case the money was kept for a while.”
Lima believes it’s related to the U.S. government taking a closer look at money coming in from Russians.
The wire transfer took multiple days but once the money was verified. It was approved.
“All the money coming now, they’re being careful,” Lima said.