What is money laundering?

With few exceptions, criminals are motivated by one thing-profit. Greed drives the criminal, and the end result is that illegally-gained money must be introduced into the nation's legitimate financial systems. Money laundering involves disguising financial assets so they can be used without detection of the illegal activity that produced them. Through money laundering, the criminal transforms the monetary proceeds derived from criminal activity into funds with an apparently legal source.

This process has devastating social consequences. For one thing, money laundering provides the fuel for drug dealers, terrorists, arms dealers, and other criminals to operate and expand their criminal enterprises.

We know that criminals manipulate financial systems in the United States and abroad to further a wide range of illicit activities. Left unchecked, money laundering can erode the integrity of our nation's financial institutions.