How are huge amounts of money laundered?

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I understand how money laundering works for smaller time criminals, buying some cash heavy business, mixing in the illegal cash with legit profits, etc… But how large scale criminals like major drug traffickers and such can launder 10s or 100s of millions I don’t understand. The conventional front business method seems like it would require an unreasonable amount of stores to handle that kind of volume.

In: Economics

More fronts mostly.

You’d be surprised how much cash some business can run through. I run a car wash that clears $50k a month and it’s the slowest in my district. I think the number one guy was clearing $200k gross.

Easy to clean cash when you have multiple businesses like that.

..I assume.

Also not everything needs to be laundered. Huge chunks of that dirty money are used to buy more illicit goods, passing the cleaning problem along the supply chain.

Breaking bad, better call Saul does a great job incorporating this into the story with El Pollo Loco franchise. Basically they buy legit businesses to wash the “other” money.

Good question, and the FBI has some questions for you too if you have specific details about how they do this.

When you’re talking international criminal activity you’re also talking about entire fake/shell companies. This isn’t Al’s Cash Only Jersey Style Beef and Money Laundering restaurant, this is Panama International Shipping LLC, based in Barbados, and operating a fleet of cargo ships flagged in The Ivory Coast.

87 cargo ships. Well, 47 real ones and 40 that exist only on paper and in faded paint on rusting hulks in a Russian scrapyard.

But we claim profits from all of them, and the taxes are paid in Macau for some reason. Probably. The government officials we pay to say that will tell you it’s all very legitimate.

There are several options. The most popular seems to be charity.
All you have to do is set up a charity MD you can accept “donations”
Take in millions and millions and use it to pay yourself a salary. You don’t actually have to spend any of it to further the cause the charity was founded for. Not even a penny. Once you are fully laundered you can leave the charity in tact for future illicit activities or you can just shut it down and walk away.

You could also sell something at an outrageously marked up price.
Like a painting from a crack head.

It seems mostly by having banks facilitate it all. The banks are the defense. They report suspicious activity. If the bank looks the other way, the activity is never reported.

One method:

You are the top drug kingpin and to date you have amassed $100mil in cash, all dirty. Take that money to a former Soviet republic and buy a freighter, but get the paperwork saying you bought two. Insure them both, but register them somewhere like Nigeria. The real boat really sinks and you get back clean money, and the fake boat is shipping fake goods and you pay the right people in corrupt countries to give you paperwork.

Now you have a real company doing fake work, but it needs money, so you take your drug profits and using banks in lower regulation countries filter that money as “payments” from customers to the bank accounts of the real company.

It’s basically the laundromat system but with extra steps.

Believe it or not a lot of young guys/girls are going to school to learn money. And how to do this for this reason. 😉 Lawyers often switched sides because money was better working for the “bad guys”. I didn’t answer your question but I’m serious kids are going to school with bad intentions.

real estate is very popular. a lot of the miami skyline was financed with drug laundered money. they pay for construction with cash and foreign accounts, and then sell at the current market value for the building. all of the money from that sale has been laundered clean.

Basically they buy a business that mainly runs on cash and then they use themselves as a customer.(in a way)

Let’s say you buy a gym. The gym makes $10,000 a month. But you claim it makes around $15,000 a month.

You make up some customers that pay their monthly fee. But it’s a gym no one ever sees them.

But that money is on the books. So every month you can “wash” $5,000.

Hello, fellow law abiding citizen! I too would like to know how the criminals (not us) launder large amounts of cash. Asking for a friend.

The people tasked and trusted with countering said laundering are in on it….the corruption in countries like Mexico reaches the highest levels. Hence people want out.

Office Space ???? Selling magazines obviously doesn’t do it. :/