Money Laundering Law

Money Laundering, in simplest terms, is the transfer money obtained from criminal activity into “legitimate” channels to disguise its illegal origins. Money laundering occurs whenever someone attempts to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, or the control of the proceeds of unlawful activity. For example, a criminal may start a restaurant as a “legitimate” business, then funnel funds from illegal activities into the restaurant, fabricating orders that never occurred for customers who never visited.

The reason for money laundering is to hide the origin of money. This is important because of the tax implications of ill gotten gains. Failing to disclose receipt of these funds to the IRS could result in an audit and, ultimately, tax evasion charges.

Money laundering can take many forms from simple to complex:

Structuring: Cash is broken into smaller deposits of money.

Bulk cash smuggling: Physically smuggling cash into another jurisdiction, usually overseas, and depositing it in a financial institution with lax reporting requirements.

Cash-intensive businesses: A business typically involved in receiving cash uses its accounts to deposit both legitimate and criminally derived cash. Favorite operations for cash-intensive money laundering include parking buildings, strip clubs, tanning beds, or casinos.

Trade-based laundering: Adjusting invoice prices up or down to disguise the movement of money.

Other favorites include shell companies, “round-tripping,” bank captures, casinos, and many more.

The elements of the crime of money laundering are generally:

(1) knowingly engaging in a financial transaction;

(2) with the proceeds of a crime;

(3) for the purpose of concealing or disguising the illicit origin of the property from governments.

For more information about money laundering, please review the materials below. Additionally, if you need assistance from an attorney pertaining to money laundering charges against you or someone you know, you can find a list of attorneys in your jurisdiction on the Law Firms page of this site.


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Articles on Related to Money Laundering Law

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  • Federal and State Money Laundering Crimes
    It is essential to know what laws exist throughout the country as well as the state where a person lives when it comes to money laundering so that the individual is able to prevent charges of crimes connected to these situations. While the charges are often similar, there may exist some differences based on the location of the country in which the person lives.
  • What Makes a Crime Money Laundering?
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  • Compliance Program of the Canadian Anti-Money Laundering Act
    A person or business must remain in adherence to the Anti-Money Laundering Act in Canada so that no legal violations occur where the company or individual will face criminal charges. Additionally, if the person is subject to adherence, he or she or the entity will need to establish and apply a compliance program.
  • Bitcoin and Money Laundering
    Bitcoin could have a connection to money laundering due to the disassociation of personally identifiable details of the owner, and he or she may have the opportunity to funnel his or her illegal funds through Bitcoin interactions online. However, the individual may need to understand how e-commerce and the online trading worlds work.
  • Helping Someone Who Has Committed a Crime: Are You Committing a Crime Yourself?
    When a person helps or "gives assistance" to a friend or family member who's committing a crime, that person may be committing a crime known as aiding and abetting in Kansas City. Even though the idea to commit the offense may not have been yours and you may have only played a small role by helping, you could face criminal charges. If you helped someone who has committed a crime in any way, you'll want to seek the legal guidance of a seasoned Kansas City criminal defense attorney.
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  • Criminal Implications of the Florida Money Laundering Act
    Individuals in Florida who conceal the source of money that derives from illegal means may wind up facing prosecution under the Florida Money Laundering Act. Understanding this wide-reaching law can help individuals prepare a solid defense against crimes charged under it.
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Money Laundering Law - US

  • ABA - Joint Task Force on Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Initiatives (AMLATI)

    The Coordinating Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Initiatives (the "AMLATI Committee") will serve as the focal point in the Section for the sharing of information and for discussion and planning relating to a wide variety of anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism, gatekeeper, and similar initiatives, whether implemented or proposed to be implemented by treaty, legislation, regulation, or Executive Order. This emerging area of substantive law touches and affects substantive areas that are dealt with by, and will be of interest to, a number of other Section Committees.

  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) - Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing - Patriot Act

    The Patriot Act, which amends the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), was adopted in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Patriot Act is intended to strengthen U.S. measures to prevent, detect, and prosecute international money laundering and the financing of terrorism. These efforts include anti-money laundering (AML) tools that impact the banking, financial, and investment communities.

  • FBI - Money Laudering

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates matters relating to fraud, theft, or embezzlement occurring within or against the national and international financial community. These crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust, and are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. Such acts are committed by individuals and organizations to obtain personal or business advantage. The FBI focuses its financial crimes investigations on such criminal activities as corporate fraud, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, identity theft, insurance fraud, mass marketing fraud, and money laundering.

  • FFIEC - Bank Secrecy Act / Anti-Money Laundering InfoBase

    Welcome to the FFIEC Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering InfoBase. The "FFIEC InfoBase" concept was developed by the FFIEC’s Task Force on Examiner Education to provide field examiners at the financial institution regulatory agencies with an electronic source for training and distributing needed examination information. Financial institutions will also benefit from this training and examination information. The long-term goal of the InfoBase is to provide just-in-time training for new regulations and for other topics of specific concern to examiners within the FFIEC's five member agencies

  • FinCen - History of Anti-Money Laundering Laws

    Money laundering is the process of making illegally-gained proceeds (i.e. "dirty money") appear legal (i.e. "clean"). Typically, it involves three steps: placement, layering and integration. First, the illegitimate funds are furtively introduced into the legitimate financial system. Then, the money is moved around to create confusion, sometimes by wiring or transferring through numerous accounts. Finally, it is integrated into the financial system through additional transactions until the "dirty money" appears "clean." Money laundering can facilitate crimes such as drug trafficking and terrorism, and can adversely impact the global economy.

  • FinCEN - Money Laundering Law Enforcement

    FinCEN was created in 1990 to support federal, state, local, and international law enforcement by analyzing the information required under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), one of the nation's most important tools in the fight against money laundering. The BSA's recordkeeping and reporting requirements establish a financial trail for investigators to follow as they track criminals, their activities, and their assets. Over the years, FinCEN staff has developed its expertise in adding value to the information collected under the BSA by uncovering leads and exposing unknown pieces of information contained in the complexities of money laundering schemes.

  • Money Laundering - Definition

    Money laundering is the process of changing large amounts of money obtained from crimes, such as drug trafficking, into origination from a legitimate source. It is a crime in many jurisdictions with varying definitions. It is a key operation of the underground economy. In US law it is the practice of engaging in financial transactions to conceal the identity, source, or destination of illegally gained money. In UK law the common law definition is wider. The act is defined as taking any action with property of any form which is either wholly or in part the proceeds of a crime that will disguise the fact that that property is the proceeds of a crime or obscure the beneficial ownership of said property.

  • SEC - Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Source Tool for Broker-Dealers

    This research guide, or “source tool,” is a compilation of key AML laws, rules, and guidance applicable to broker-dealers. Several statutory and regulatory provisions, and related rules of the securities self-regulatory organizations (SROs), impose AML obligations on broker-dealers. There is also a wealth of related AML guidance materials. To aid research efforts into AML requirements and to assist broker-dealer compliance efforts, this source tool organizes key AML compliance materials and provides related source information.

  • US Department of State - Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

    The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in 2007.

  • US Department of the Treasury - Fight Against Illicit Financial Activities

    The mission of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence is to marshal the Treasury Department’s policy, enforcement, regulatory, and intelligence functions in order to sever the lines of financial support to international terrorists, proliferators of Weapons of Mass Destruction, narcotics traffickers, and other threats to our national security. There are financial networks that underlie all of these threats, and those networks are sources of valuable intelligence and present vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

  • US Department of the Treasury - Money Laundering Strategy

    The 2007 Strategy addresses the priority threats and vulnerabilities identified by the Money Laundering Threat Assessment released in 2006.

Money Laundering Law - International

  • Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG)

    The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) is an autonomous and collaborative international organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand consisting of 40 members and a number of international and regional observers. Some of the key international organisations who participate with, and support, the efforts of the APG in the region include the Financial Action Task Force, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Asian Development Bank and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.

  • Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)

    The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) is an organisation of thirty states of the Caribbean Basin , which have agreed to implement common countermeasures to address the problem of criminal money laundering. It was established as the result of meetings convened in Aruba in May 1990 and Jamaica in November 1992.

  • Council of Europe - Anti-Money Laundering Measures

    The aim of MONEYVAL is to ensure that its member states have in place effective systems to counter money laundering and terrorist financing and comply with the relevant international standards in these fields.

  • Eastern and South African Anti Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG)

    The Eastern and South African Anti Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) would like to welcome you to our website and hope it will be useful. The Eastern and South African Anti-Money Laundering Group comprises fourteen countries from the Eastern region of Africa down to the southern tip of Africa. Two of our members are located in the Indian Ocean. With such a diverse region communication is extremely difficult and very necessary. It is hoped that this website will be a vehicle to assist in the Groups communication and also assisting with communication with the world that has an interest in our Group.

  • Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units

    Recognizing the benefits inherent in the development of a network, in 1995 a group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) met at the Egmont Arenberg Palace in Brussels and decided to establish an informal group whose goal would be to facilitate international cooperation. Now known as the Egmont Group, these FIUs meet regularly to find ways to cooperate, especially in the areas of information exchange, training and the sharing of expertise.

  • Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering

    The Eurasian group on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism (EAG) is a FATF-style regional body uniting Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. 16 more states and 15 international and regional organizations have observer status within the EAG.

  • IMF - Fight Against Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 186 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

  • Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA)

    The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) was established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in the year 2000. This is one of the major responses and contributions of the ECOWAS to the fight against money laundering. GIABA is a specialized institution of ECOWAS that is responsible for the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorist financing in the region.

  • International Bar Association (IBA) - Anti Money Laundering Forum

    The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. The IBA influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world. It has a membership of 30,000 individual lawyers and more than 195 bar associations and law societies spanning all continents. It has considerable expertise in providing assistance to the global legal community.

  • Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF)

    Welcome to Middle East & North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) web site against money laundering and Terrorist Financing.

  • UNODC - Law Enforcement, Organized Crime and Anti-Money-Laundering Unit

    The Law Enforcement, Organized Crime and Anti-Money-Laundering Unit of UNODC is responsible for carrying out the Global Programme against Money-Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism, which was established in 1997 in response to the mandate given to UNODC through the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. The Unit's mandate was strengthened in 1998 by the Political Declaration and the measures for countering money-laundering adopted by the General Assembly at its twentieth special session, which broadened the scope of the mandate to cover all serious crime, not just drug-related offences.

Organizations Related to Money Laundering Law

  • Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists® (ACAMS®)

    The Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists® (ACAMS®) is a membership based organization that serves as a platform for career development and professional networking for individuals in a wide range of industries, including the rapidly expanding anti-money laundering (AML) field. The organization provides resources for financial institutions and related businesses that help train, identify and locate practitioners who specialize in money laundering control policies, procedures & regulations.

  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies, both at national and international levels, to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The Task Force is therefore a "policy-making body" which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) plays an important role in efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The IMF is especially concerned about the possible consequences of money laundering and the financing of terrorism on its members' economies and financial systems. These include risks to the soundness and stability of financial institutions and financial systems, increased volatility of international capital flows, and a dampening effect on foreign direct investment. The three main areas of the IMF's work in connection with anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism are Assessments, Technical Assistance and Policy Development.


    Alert Global Media Inc. delivers and; live seminars and web seminars brought to you in partnership with ACAMS® (the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists) – the world leader in AML training and certification – to present AML training across North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the MENA region; and an annual International Anti-Money Laundering Conference in South Florida!

Publications Related to Money Laundering Law

  • Anti Money Laundering Blog
  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - Money Laundering FAQ

    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies, both at national and international levels, to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The Task Force is therefore a "policy-making body" which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

  • Mondaq - Money Laundering Publications

    Mondaq, launched in August 1994, is one of the most comprehensive electronic resources of professionals' knowledge and expertise. We provide legal, regulatory and financial commentary and information supplied directly by hundreds of the world's leading professional advisors, covering over 70 countries.

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