How do criminals sometimes get away with what they do? How do they clean their ill-gotten gains? It is a three step process for many drug dealers, or corrupt politicians, or terrorists or those embezzling from their company involving the the placement, the layering and the integration…it is the process of laundering money. Placement involves depositing the money into a legitimate bank, usually in the form of a cash deposit. For many criminals this is the riskiest and most crucial of the steps, as large sums of cash raise a lot of attention and many questions. Large cash deposits are required to be reported by the bank personnel.
Then the criminal may transfer the funds from one account to another or use the funds to purchase high end luxury items such as jewelry or cars. And while this is not as risky as the original deposit, it is complex as they are attempting to make the money as hard to follow as possible. The third stage of integration is the final step and one in which most criminals are scot-free. The money is back in circulation in the main stream and looks legitimate.
However, countries around the world have been enforcing policies and laws which make up the anti-money laundering task force so to speak. These policies state that any financial institute, or any regulated business or organization must report suspicious activity and must take steps within their own institutions to aid in the prevention of the act of laundering money.
The simple truth is that money is acquired honestly there is no need to launder it. Criminals launder money. With the initiation of the Patriot Act of the United States, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, anti-money laundering agencies have stepped up their forces, not only to continue to apprehend criminals, but in order to protect the citizens of every country as best as they are able from attacks by terrorists, by cutting off their funds, they may stop attacks and save the lives of many innocent people.