Money laundering is a practice that has been around since ancient times. It is an offense under both civil and criminal law. In simple terms, money laundering is the act of hiding the true sources of money received illegally by passage through a series of legal transactions or transfers. The ultimate goal of the scheme is to return the “clean” money back to the lender in an indirect and obscure way. This type of transaction is often camouflaged through the use of bank accounts, shell companies and even couriers.
Essentially, money laundering takes place when criminal proceeds are laundered or transferred to a third party. The funds may be obtained illicitly by way of the proceeds of crime such as murder, theft, or drug trafficking. Proceeds from legitimate businesses are generally used for the purchase of goods and services. Proceeds from international sources are used for funding their respective businesses. Whatever the purpose of the proceeds, whether for personal use or business purposes, they need to be properly allocated and accounted for in a proper manner.
In 1977, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Division (FCED) was established within the Department of the Treasury. The task force functions as an agency that oversees all of the financial activities of the United States. There are several main goals of the FCED, including preventing money laundering, currency fraud, money laundering through the transfer of illicit goods and services and sharing intelligence about international activities. Because of this, there is an ongoing effort to develop international standards for detecting, preventing, and punishing cases of international money laundering. In order to meet these goals, the FCED relies upon the cooperation and participation of banks, credit institutions, government agencies, the private sector, and other financial entities.
Money Laundering is considered to be a major crime in many countries. The penalties associated with money laundering can range from large fines and years in prison to compulsory imprisonment. The law enforcement goal is to bring to light and pursue perpetrators aggressively. In order to accomplish this, there are penalties that are assigned by each state, which include prison time and large fines.
The Department of Justice does not currently have an online site that offers free tips on how to avoid being a victim of Money Laundering. However, there are information and resources available on the internet regarding how to detect and prevent the crime of Money Laundering. The Department of Justice does inform all United States Attorneys Offices and Federal Criminal Offenses Detectives that money laundering is a significant crime and should be investigated and prosecuted. It is important to know that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Act of 2020 requires all foreign countries that are United States residents to report any suspicious activities that may be conducted by their citizens to the designated agencies.
The Department of Defense and the United States Military do not allow the acceptance of cash as gifts. In most cases, the only exception would be if the person were going on an extended trip where the money would be used for gambling or other conduct of an extreme nature. Most of the countries in the world that engage in Money Laundering will readily admit that they engage in such acts, but will resist providing information on their various criminal defense tactics and procedures. In addition to not providing information on their various crimes, these countries also tend to be very secretive when it comes to sharing information on pending cases. This has often led to sensationalist media stories and reports that paint a negative picture of everyone involved in any form of money laundering or money orders.