money laundering - the do's and don'ts

Before we start let's get something straight. Money laundering is bad, so bad it's illegal. I know, scary. But let's be real, if your money's dirty, you have bigger problems to solve.



Money laundering is the act of taking illicit funds and scrubbing them clean to the point of their origin either not being questioned or not be traced.


It's big business, with the amount being estimated around 2-5% of a countries GDP per year. And I know what you're thinking, estimated... that can only mean organisations are getting away with it - and you're damn right.


We can break down the process into three key areas, the first is


Placement

After you've sold all your cocaine, counted the cash and bundled it all together with rubber bands like in the movies, you're ready to get scrubbing. This is when the money first hits the books, the point at which it shows its head in the financial system. But don't stress, as far as we're concerned money is money and keeping your cool is the key to this whole operation going smooth. That and a dodgy accountant, but we'll come to that.


Layering

Once the cash is presented like a soar thumb, we need to make it look a little less obvious. Now keep in mind we want to leave a trail but a trail with plenty of turns, bumps, international transfers, currency swaps and shapeshifting, to really hide the secret . In the game we call this layering. The process of mixing the cash with legal, explainable funds and then pushing those funds through as many transformations as you can afford.


Integration

Hey, this is going pretty well? You've made the money, mixed it into circulation, hidden it's real identity and home town and now it's time to spend! Integration is when the fresh funds hit the high-street. If you're planning on doing this again, it'd be wise to invest a little into your future operations. If not now's the time to find something expensive, something luxurious and something bloody far away from home. That's where the havens come in but like the accountants, we'll talk soon on that.


Successful laundering schemes are hard to find, not that they aren't out there but once you've got one through google or your weird creepy friend, odds are the authorities kinda already know how it works. But for the sake of it, i'll go over a few basic schemes so you know where to start.



Casinos

Maybe the only place left in the world where you can walk in with X and out with Y and no one bats an eyelid. This scheme is easy, so easy it's stupid but you're being taught by the best so I can only assume you'll steer clear.


Step 1, get your hands on some pretend money. Poker chips are available either at the tables, cash desks or reception depending on where you plan to pull off the heist. Take your dirty money and cash it in for some shiny round plastic.


Step 2, have fun. You're being watched, believe me. So drink, laugh, be a customer but keep an eye on your spending. Spend an odd number of chips and once your couple hours is up and you wanna head back to the room, wonder over the the cash desk.


Step 3, swap your plastic for gold. AND DON'T FORGET THE RECEIPT.


Just like that you've laundered money but i'd expect better from a child so stick with me and we'll really get down to business.


Cash Scheme

Probably the go-to for any low level crime syndicate. Almost as easy as the casino heist but without the fun and cash only.


Take your cash and slowly funnel funds into the business in the form of customer spending, fake grants and 'investors', whatever best suits your venue.


Don't deposit more than you can handle and keep an eye on your withdrawals, it's a slow burn but definitely reliable.


Foreign Investment

Let's get serious. If you're laundering funds, the odds are you're happy to invest a little upfront. Besides, it's in your best interest that the gold you see isn't the badge of a FBI Agent, instead the bullion you ordered online.


The basics of Foreign Investing. You send funds to a company, legal company. I know risky but stick with it. They take your investment and over time, the funds are sent back to the sole investor. Yes, the money can be more difficult to withdraw, but easily the safest method for larger sums.


Expect to pay no less than 10% of the initial investment when going through a third party, but then again you could get your shit together and set up the company, take a trip to Panama and go from there. Full disclosure, it has its risks to you personally. Normally funds are withdrawn through high level salaries, so yes you're paying tax on your investment and on top of that, it's you. No proxies, no fake identities, you.


The question stands, if this puts the scare in you, maybe you aren't the one for this life...


Tips and tricks

Accountants. They're easy to get your hands on but have duties to report back to the government if they see you being cheeky. Ask around, find yourself someone who's happy to turn a blind eye for a bonus come Christmas.


Tax Havens, i've gone over this here. If you haven't had a read, frankly i'm insulted, but it's never too late to catch up with the rest off the class.


Times are changing quicker than your local Police Department can keep up.


Like all things dodgy, confidence is key. Have a good relationship with your Bank Manager, use technology to your advantage and lawyer up. There is no way you can walk this path without having a few people question your operations so be ready to defend you rights.


When transferring money, stick to untraceable currencies. Cryptocurrencies are your friend, fully legal and almost impossible to follow around the world.


But most of all, put on a show. Get yourself an office, buy supplies. Hell, a receptionist. Something to say you aren't playing around.


It's over to you, good luck.

the.over.thinker.

© 2023 by Matt Low.