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Illegal Money Laundering: A Strategy and Resource Guide for Law Enforcement Agencies

NCJ Number
C L Karchmer
Date Published
81 pages
This report is intended to aid administrators of State and local law enforcement agencies in choosing their agencies' roles and strategies in conducting law enforcement efforts directed at the money laundering activities of drug traffickers and other organized illegal activities.
The estimated $100 billion in annual profits from narcotics trafficking exists largely in the form of currency that criminals must convert into an alternative medium use to their maximum benefit. Our limited knowledge of money laundering has originated with Federal enforcement and prosecutorial agencies, reflecting the predominance of Federal jurisdiction over most of the activities that generate illegal proceeds. State and local law enforcement agencies have had a smaller role in the efforts to address money laundering, partly because of their focus primarily on activity nearer the street level. However, much evidence suggests that sophisticated offenders who operate at the lower levels of criminal groups can generate enormous sums needing laundering and therefore need such services. Moreover, illicit income generated locally tends to remain local, often in a variety of financial institutions and legitimate business ventures and as investment capital for more illegal activities. Strategies that local officials can consider range from generating more and better leads to pass on to Federal enforcement agencies to strengthening State regulatory programs covering the types of institutions commonly used by money launderers. Detection and investigation strategies, discussion of agency policy development, 20 references, and appended legislation of California and Georgia.