Skip to Content
Call Us Today! 312-436-0638

Dirty Money - What Constitutes Money Laundering


As far as white collar crimes go, money laundering is a major component in criminal activity. While the process contains many steps, the short definition of money laundering is that it is essentially the act of turning dirty money into clean money, making it seem as though it came from a legitimate source. Despite this simple definition, money laundering is a complex multi-step process.

Breaking it Down

Money laundering is a layered process during which dirty money, which was obtained illegally, is introduced into the financial system to make it appear legitimate. There are many ways to accomplish this, some of which can appear to be rather simple, and others that are more complicated. The most common method for money laundering is through a legitimate cash-based business that is owned by a criminal organization. If a criminal organization owned a restaurant, for example, it could inflate its daily cash receipts in order to funnel in the illegal cash through the restaurant, into the bank, where it can then be distributed to the owners from the restaurant’s bank account. Such businesses are typically referred to as “fronts.”

Another common method that is used for money laundering is known as smurfing. This approach occurs when an individual breaks up large chunks of cash to make many small deposits in order to spread it out across several different accounts, thereby attempting to avoid detection. Money laundering can also be done through currency exchanges, wire transfers, or even cash smugglers who smuggle vast sums of cash across borders to deposit them into offshore accounts.

Additionally, the internet has also altered traditional money laundering methods, making it easier to avoid detection through proxy servers and anonymizing software that makes the integration of dirty money more difficult to detect.

Money Laundering in Illinois

If you were arrested or are under investigation for money laundering, you should not hesitate to obtain the skilled legal representation that is necessary to protect your rights. At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our criminal defense attorney in Chicago will provide you with the personalized defense you need to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Do not leave your future or your freedom up to chance.

Get started on your case today and contact our law office at (312) 436-0638 to request a consultation.