Federal law provides (in part): "Whoever ... knowing[ly] ... conducts or attempts to conduct ... a financial transaction which in fact involves the proceeds of specified unlawful activity ... with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity ... shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both."
Conceptually, money laundering is often divided into three distinct components:
In recent years, money laundering has become an increasingly international crime. This lead to the establishment in 1989, to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which establishes promotes national and international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
(i) Placement: -- the initial point of entry for funds derived from criminal activities.
- (ii) Layering: -- establishing a series of transactions which attempt to obscure the link between the initial entry point, and the end of the laundering cycle.
- (iii) Integration: returning the illicit funds to the legitimate economy for later extraction.