Encyclopedia of Security and Emergency Management

Living Edition
| Editors: Lauren R. Shapiro, Marie-Helen Maras

Investigations: Money Laundering

  • John T. BandlerEmail author
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69891-5_26-2


Money laundering is the process criminals use to conceal and disguise the source, destination, or ownership of money and property earned through criminal activity.

Money laundering investigation is the process of identifying money laundering activity for the purpose of stopping it, reporting it to government, or prosecuting it.


Money laundering exists because there are successful criminals. Many individuals and organizations commit crime for the purpose of making money, and a considerable amount of criminal activity is conducted for financial gain (OECD 2016). Some criminals are successful in this activity, which means they have the ability to accumulate profits and wealth from their illicit activity. With the prosecution of Al Capone in the 1920s, government realized that one method to identify and prosecute these successful criminal individuals and enterprises was by “following the money.” After that, criminals learned they needed to hide and disguise this...


Money laundering Anti-money laundering Anti money laundering AML Terrorism Terrorist financing Sanctions Financial services Fraud Theft Investigations Prosecution Financial transactions Cash Virtual currency Digital currency Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Regulation Criminal statute Money transmitting Money remittance Placement Layering Integration Structuring FinCEN Financial Crimes Enforcement Network 
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  1. ACAMS Study Guide for the Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) Certification Exam. (2016). ACAMS, 6th ed., p. 65.Google Scholar
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  4. Bandler, J, Lawyers Drugs, and Money, AML in Popular Media, ACAMS TODAY, 20 Mar 2018. https://www.acamstoday.org/lawyers-drugs-and-money-aml-in-popular-media/
  5. Bandler, J. Stemming the flow of cybercrime payments, ACAMS TODAY, 9 June 2017. https://www.acamstoday.org/stemming-the-flow-of-cybercrime-payments/
  6. CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/. Last accessed 26 Apr 2018.
  7. FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Report on money laundering typologies, 1998.Google Scholar
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  10. OECD. (2016). Illicit trade: Converging criminal networks, OECD reviews of risk management policies (p. 15). Paris: OECD.  https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264251847-en.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) website. The Money-Laundering Cycle. https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/money-laundering/laundrycycle.html. Last visited 26 Apr 2018.

General References and Further Reading

    Government Related

    1. Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. https://egmontgroup.org/en
    2. Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF). http://www.fatf-gafi.org
    3. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). https://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/offices/Pages/Office-of-Foreign-Assets-Control.aspx
    4. U.S. Department of the Treasury. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). https://www.fincen.gov
    5. U.S. Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Information Base, http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/default.htm
    6. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. http://www.unodc.org

    Professional Organizations

    1. American Bankers Association. https://www.aba.com
    2. Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS). http://www.acams.org
    3. Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA). http://www.fiba.net
    4. International Money Laundering Information Network. http://www.imolin.org/imolin/en
    5. The Anti-Money Laundering Association (AMLA). https://theamla.com

    Journalist and Non-profit AML Investigation

    1. International consortium of investigative journalists. https://www.icij.org/
    2. Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. https://www.occrp.org


    1. USA PATRIOT Act. For a summary see https://www.justice.gov/archive/ll/highlights.htm
    2. 31 U.S.C. §5311 et seq. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).Google Scholar
    3. 18 U.S.C. § 1956 Laundering of monetary instruments.Google Scholar
    4. 18 U.S.C. § 1957 Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.Google Scholar
    5. 18 U.S.C. § 1960 Unlicensed money transmitting.Google Scholar
    6. 31 U.S.C. § 5330 Registration of money transmitting businesses.Google Scholar
    7. NYS Penal Law § 470.00 et seq., Money laundering.Google Scholar
    8. NYS Banking Law § 650, Unlicensed money transmitting.Google Scholar

AML News Sites, Guides, and Articles

  1. ACAMS MoneyLaundering.com. www.moneylaundering.com
  2. ACAMS Study Guide for the Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) Certification Exam. (2016). ACAMS, 6th ed.Google Scholar
  3. Bandler, J. Cybercrime and digital currency. ABA Information Law Journal (Autumn 2016). https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/science_technology/2016/ilj_volume7_issue4.authcheckdam.pdf
  4. Bandler, J. Dirty digital dollars, Fraud Magazine (July/August 2016). http://www.fraud-magazine.com/article.aspx?id=4294993652
  5. Bandler, J. (2017). Stemming the flow of cybercrime payments and money laundering. ACAMS TODAY, 16 (3). http://www.acamstoday.org/stemming-the-flow-of-cybercrime-payments/
  6. Money Laundering Bulletin. https://www.moneylaunderingbulletin.com

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bandler Law Firm PLLC and Bandler Group LLC and John Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA