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Breaking the Bank

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 75 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2006 Pages: 18-32
Edward Hendrie J.D.
Date Published
July 2006
15 pages
This article describes the crime of money laundering, with an emphasis on the provisions contained in Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 1956 and 1957.
Money laundering investigations are one of the most effective ways to detect and dismantle the criminal operations of drug traffickers and organized crime groups. Money laundering is a process used by criminals through which the proceeds of illegal activities are introduced into legitimate financial markets via various methods. Methods include the Black Market Peso Exchange, gold purchases, structured deposits or withdrawals from bank accounts, wire transfers, and forms of underground banking. Money laundering is accomplished in three stages: (1) the placement of criminal proceeds into the financial system; (2) the division and movement of the proceeds to hide its origin, called layering; and (3) the integration of the proceeds into legitimate commerce. The specifics of Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 1956 and 1957 are described, as is the Federal transaction requirement of the Currency Transaction Report (CTR), which states that any domestic financial institution involved in a transaction of United States coin or currency totaling $10,000 or more must be properly filed. The term transaction is defined and examples are presented of money laundering offenses. Any person who conspires to commit money laundering offenses may also be prosecuted for conspiracy under Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1956(h) rather than the general conspiracy statute, which does not provide a basis for criminal forfeiture and carries a lighter penalty. 89 endnotes