What’s money laundering?


Money laundering is simply taking, and traditionally taking, money that came from an illegal source, and originally it was meant to be laundered where it turns out and it shows up as legitimate monies, where you run it through a company and you can’t tell what really came through the company versus anywhere else, but it appears that you were — that you have obtained those funds from a legitimate source. Some people simply run them through a variety of bank accounts and transfer them and make deposits and switch over, so on and so forth. Today, in the federal system, that is still true, but there’s also a transactional money laundering statute that simply provides that if you take money from a known illegal source and you simply make one transaction with it, any kind of transaction with it — a wire transfer, a deposit, handing over a sack of cash to someone — that in itself can be money laundering. You find that some to some degree in the state courts. You usually don’t find as many state prosecutors who are going to include a money laundering charge, but occasionally you do, and it’s basically the same thing, taking some known tainted money and making a transaction with it.

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