money laundering: an overview
Money laundering refers to a financial transaction scheme that aims to conceal the identity, source, and destination of illicitly-obtained money. The money laundering process can be broken down into three stages. First, the illegal activity that garners the money places it in the launderer’s hands. Second, the launderer passes the money through a complex scheme of transactions to obscure who initially received the money from the criminal enterprise. Third, the scheme returns the money to the launderer in an obscure and indirect way.
Tax evasion and false accounting practices constitute common types of money laundering. Often, criminals achieve these objectives through the use of shell companies, holding companies, and offshore accounts. A shell company is an incorporated company that possesses no significant assets and does not perform any significant operations. To launder money, the shell company purports to perform some service that would reasonably require its