Money Laundering

By Boran, Christopher | American Criminal Law Review, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Money Laundering

Boran, Christopher, American Criminal Law Review

    A. Section 1956
       1. Transaction Money Laundering
       2. Transportation Money Laundering
       3. Sting Operations
    B. Section 1957
     A. Knowledge Requirement
        1. General Knowledge
        2. Willful Blindness
     B. Proceeds Derived From A Specified Unlawful Activity
        1. Proceeds
          a. Scope
          b. Tracing
        2. Specified Unlawful Activity
     C. Financial Transaction
        1. Multiple Transactions
        2. Interstate Commerce
     D. Intent
     A. Constitutional Vagueness
     B. Double Jeopardy
     C. Constitutionally Impermissible
     A. Section 1956 and 1957


Money laundering is "the process by which one conceals the existence, illegal source, or illegal application of income, and disguises that income to make it appear legitimate." (1) Laundering criminally derived proceeds has become a lucrative and sophisticated business, (2) and is an indispensable element of organized criminal activities. (3) Although money laundering occurs in various and creative media, (4) money laundering typically is effectuated through a three-step process: (i) the criminally derived money is "placed" into a legitimate enterprise; (ii) the funds are "layered" through various transactions to obscure the original source; and (iii) the newly laundered funds are integrated into the legitimate financial world "in the form of bank notes, loans, letters of credit," or other recognizable financial instruments. (5)

In recognition of this pervasive problem, Congress passed the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 (the "Act"), (6) which created liability for any individual who conducts a monetary transaction knowing that the funds were derived through unlawful activity. (7) Unlike earlier unsuccessful efforts to control the movement of illegal income by requiring financial institutions to comply with reporting requirements, (8) the Act targets "the lifeblood of organized crime": (9) the conversion of funds derived from illegal activities into a "clean" or useable form. (10)

The Act's expansive definition of "money laundering" allows it to reach the proceeds of a broad range of illicit activities. (11) For instance, the Act encompasses the proceeds of conduct that is characteristic of organized crime, such as narcotics trafficking, certain state offenses, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") predicates) (12) Moreover, the Act covers proceeds of a wide range of additional criminal offenses including copyright infringement, environmental offenses, espionage, trading with the enemy, and conducting financial transactions with intent to engage in violations of the Internal Revenue Code. (13)

One of the principal purposes of the Act, embodied in [section] 1957, is to bar all "monetary transactions" in "criminally derived property" which exceed $10,000. (14) In achieving that purpose, the Act targets transactions conducted through financial institutions (15) and also reaches a broad variety of routine commercial transactions that affect commerce. (16) Although the seizure of criminal proceeds for use as evidence is nothing new, (17) the Act also makes the subsequent use of criminal proceeds in any transaction illegal in perpetuity, extending well beyond the statute of limitations on the original criminal conduct. (18)

Beyond the Act, the government also utilizes reporting laws, which forbid exporting more than $10,000 of undeclared cash, to prevent money laundering. (19) Further, the Treasury Department has enacted rules requiring all businesses that wire money internationally to register with the government, file a report for all transactions exceeding $750, report suspicious activity, and furnish the names of both the transferor and the recipient. (20)

Finally, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress acted with renewed focus upon the detection, prevention, and prosecution of money laundering.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Money Laundering


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.