Money laundering laws in the United States have been around since Prohibition in the 1930s. Money laundering in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, attempts to conceal that money has been earned via illegal means. The laundering process commonly involves several steps and methods to make it seem legal.
How the money laundering process works
Money laundering falls under the category of white-collar crimes, which cover several financial schemes. The first step involves “placement,” or depositing the money in a financial establishment to separate it from the illegal source.
Layering attempts to confuse the institution’s anti-money laundering controls, or AML, commonly by making several small transactions. This is sometimes called structuring or “smurfing”, and the main purpose is to make detection harder. Integration is the final process that transfers the “clean” money back to the criminal, which seems to be from a legitimate source.
Common money laundering techniques
One method of money laundering is shell corporations, or dummy companies with no assets, existing only on paper. These companies have no office or employees and are formed for illegal reasons, but they may have bank accounts. Criminals may try to launder funds in offshore accounts, through buying and selling valuable goods or real estate, and currency bureau exchanges.
Another popular method of hiding the funds is through gambling, commonly betting on games with high winning odds. They may buy chips with illegal money and exchange them for a check, and not gamble.
A money mule is a person who makes illegal transfers for another person, often for a commission. Sometimes, the recruits don’t know the setup is illegal, and jobs commonly advertise as a “processing claims” job.
Money laundering scams impact the economy, so penalties are harsh, including hefty fines and jail. However, the prosecution must prove guilt, and the defendant can fight the charges with a solid defense.