What is Money Laundering? And What are the Different Stages?

Last updated
January 27, 2024

Money laundering is a grave criminal offense that can have a huge impact on your life if you get accused of it or convicted. According to criminal lawyers, it has connections to organized crime and international terrorism. This is why money laundering has severe penalties for any defendant. Briefly, money laundering can be described as the willful act of disguising the origins of unlawfully obtained money by making it seem to have come from an altered source. Money laundering charges fall under federal jurisdiction, which means that anyone accused of money laundering will be prosecuted by the federal government and could be convicted of a grave federal offense.

is Money Laundering

Money laundering refers to the collective steps that financial gains from criminal acts are transformed into deceptively legitimate finances assets or cash. Relatively lately, the term has converted into an intermix with other forms of criminal acts involving finances. These include digital currencies, securities, debit/credit cards as well as conventional money. Most money laundering legislation refers to terrorism financing.

of Money Laundering

There are three distinct phases money launderers use to
conceal illegal income. These three stages can be names as Placement, Layering,
and Integration. Money launderers characteristically establish anonymous
companies in hand-picked countries and send false import-export invoices
overvaluing goods that enable the transfer of money from one place to another
while the fake invoices authenticate the source of the money.

According to Legal Consultants, a method that continues to gain popularity with the advent of the Internet is to transfer the money to a genuine bank from a bank possessed by the launderers.

Irrespective of the method used, every criminal defense lawyer in Winnipeg describes money laundering to still comprises of the three steps mentioned below:


The primary step in money laundering is referred to as
placement. Illegal activities like prostitution, drug dealing, and other crimes
produce unbelievable amounts of money. Slipping the money into the financial
system is referred to as placement. Placement is achieved in legitimate
businesses where it will be intermingled with the legitimate business income.
Al Capone, the inventor of the contemporary money laundering concept, had a
Laundromat where he placed his money.


Masking the source of illegal income necessitates creating
layers upon layers of transactions. Concealing the illegal finances helps to
make money tougher to trace and confounds any audit trail with a web of multifaceted
transactions, the ownership and source of the funds are concealed as well.

Funds are moved into, and out of, mortar businesses through wire transfers, money orders, and other kinds of electronic funds transfer. With over 500,000 wire transfers daily, an inadequate amount of information is revealed on any single transaction. With the details of individual transaction challenging to find, EFT is a chief way to rotate funds. The huge volume along with the anonymity makes the odds of finding a transaction trivial.


The last step in the process is referred to as integration.
It is at this point where the funds are integrated into the legitimate
financial stream and lost in with the other assets. Integration is attained by
making the finances seem to have been earned legally. By the time “dirty money”
has reached to this point, it ‘s hard to distinguish legal from illegal funds.