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Consequences of Money Laundering and Financial Crime

NCJ Number
Economic Perspectives Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2001 Pages: 6-8
John McDowell; Gary Novis
Date Published
May 2001
3 pages
This article presented a brief overview of the potentially devastating economic, security, and social consequences of money laundering and financial crime.
Money laundering is seen as critical to the effective operation of transnational and organized crime. However, money laundering effects a country’s economy, government, and social well-being. This article briefly reviewed both the economic and social costs of money laundering. The economic effects of money laundering discussed included: (1) undermining the legitimate private sector; (2) undermining the integrity of financial markers; (3) loss of control of economic policy; (4) economic distortion and instability; (5) loss of revenue; (6) risks of privatization efforts; and (7) reputation risk. The social costs of money laundering include allowing drug traffickers, smugglers, and other criminal to expand operations and the transfer of economic power from the market, government, and citizens to criminals. In extreme cases, money laundering can lead to a complete takeover of legitimate government. Anti-money laundering efforts are both a critical and effective component of anti-crime programs. Money laundering presents a complex and dynamic challenge across the world. The shear global nature of money laundering requires global standards and increased international cooperation in order to reduce the ability of criminals to launder their proceeds and carry out criminal activities.