Classic Money Laundering Process


Taking dirty money and physically depositing it with a financial institution or using it to purchase an asset. This is the highest risk area for the criminal, and most policing efforts are focused here. Examples: depositing cash in a financial institution, purchasing high value assets such as art, precious metals or stones, which can then be sold with payment made by bank transfer or cheque.


This distances the dirty money from its source by a series of transactions designed to help anonymity and disguise the audit trail. In this way the source, ownership, and location of the funds is disguised. Examples: wiring funds from one account to another, converting cash into depositary instruments (money orders, travellers cheques etc), buying and reselling high value goods or prepaid access or stored value items (like gift cards), investing in property or legitimate businesses, investing in stocks bonds or life insurance, using shell companies which disguise the beneficial owner.


Placing clean money into the economy using an apparently normal business or personal transaction, so that criminals can add it to their wealth. By this stage separating illegal and legal wealth is very difficult.

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