Money Laundering

–The Process And Its Affects Essay, Research Paper


Money laundering is a process that many people do not understand. In fact, when I chose money laundering for my report, I thought that I chose counterfeiting. Money laundering and counterfeiting is not the same. Money laundering is the process by which large amounts of illegally obtained money (from drug trafficking, terrorist activity or other serious crime) is given the appearance of having originated from a legitimate source. Money laundering is a complex operation that affects everyone. The purpose of this paper is to explain the money laundering process and how it affects society.

Money laundering is not a single act but is more a complex operation that is completed in three basic steps. The first step is placement, the second step is layering, and the third step is integration.

The first step, placement, is to take the moneys and place them into the financial system, the retail economy, or smuggle them out of the country. The aims of the launderer are to remove the cash from the location of acquisition so as to avoid detection from the authorities and to then transform it into other asset forms; for example: travelers checks, postal orders, etc.

The second step, layering, is the first attempt to conceal or disguise the source of the ownership of the funds by creating complex layers of financial transactions designed to disguise the audit trail and provide anonymity. The purpose of layering is to disassociate the illegal moneys from the source of the crime by purposely creating a complex web of financial transactions aimed at concealing any audit trail as well as the source and ownership of the funds.

The third step, integration, is the stage at which the money is integrated into the legitimate economic and financial system and is assimilated with all other assets is the system. The launders making it appear to have been legally earned accomplishes integration of the cleaned money into the economy. Three popular methods of doing this are the establishment of anonymous companies, the sending of false import-export invoices, and transferring the money from a bank owned by the launders to a legitimate bank.


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