Money Laundering

Where Drugs and Cyber Crime Meet


The last stop on our problem-solving journey is an examination of the place where the profits of illegal drugs and cyber crime end up. This is money laundering, a term used for the movement of money obtained through criminal activity. Drugs and cyber crime go their separate ways until both groups of criminals need to conceal their large profits. They then make use of the sophisticated techniques of money laundering in order to spread their money around and deter crime prevention agencies from becoming aware of their existence. Money laundering can be described as a series of transactions that attempt to conceal the true origin and ownership of property obtained by unlawful means in such a way that it appears to have come from legitimate sources. This process has been used since the first private bank came into existence because from that time criminals have had the need to convert the money they made from their illegal activities into cash or possessions that appeared to have been obtained honestly. The term comes from the United States where the Mafia in the 1930s and 1940s hid their illicit profits from bootlegging, gambling and prostitution by buying new laundromats that were becoming popular.1 Until the mid-1980s the procedure was quite simple. Money was sent to a country where banking activities were kept secret, such as Switzerland, which for many years was considered an excellent hiding place. It was then brought back into circulation as “clean” money, with its origin unknown.


Organize Crime Money Laundering Drug Trafficking Criminal Group Legitimate Business 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

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