How do money launderers make money? grayscale photo of a bunch of metal tools

Quicklinks: Summary, products and services, successful companies | Income and profitability | Expenses | History, strategy and challenges

Summary, products and services

Summary of the money laundering business: how do money launderers work? How do they make money?

Money laundering is a shady business, but it’s an incredibly lucrative one. Money launderers work by taking ill-gotten gains and cleaning them up to make them look like legitimate income. This involves transferring the money through multiple accounts, often in different countries, to obscure its origin.

The money is then invested in businesses or assets, such as real estate or stocks, which can be sold for a profit. Money launderers make their money by charging hefty fees for their services. They also take a cut of the profits from the investments they make with the “cleaned” funds. This can add up to a substantial amount of money over time.

Money laundering is illegal in most countries and carries serious penalties if caught. But that doesn’t stop some people from engaging in this type of activity as it can be highly profitable if done correctly. It’s estimated that between 2-5% of global GDP is generated from money laundering activities each year, making it an incredibly lucrative business for those willing to take the risk.

Despite its criminal nature, money laundering remains an attractive option for many criminals looking to hide their wealth and avoid paying taxes on it. It’s clear that while governments are trying to crack down on this activity, there will always be those willing to take advantage of loopholes and engage in illegal activities such as money laundering in order to make a quick buck.

List and description of five successful money launderers

  1. William ‘Billy’ McFarland: Billy McFarland is one of the most famous money launderers to have been caught. He was a tech entrepreneur and founder of the Fyre Festival, an infamous failed music festival. He was arrested in 2018 and charged with wire fraud and money laundering for misusing over $26 million in investor funds. The scale of his money laundering scheme was worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
  2. Hui Chi Ming: Hui Chi Ming was a Chinese businessman who ran a massive money laundering network in Macau. He and his associates laundered over $1 billion through various casinos and banks in Macau between 2008 and 2010. He was arrested in 2011, convicted, and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
  3. Anatoly Golubchik: Anatoly Golubchik was a Russian-born businessman who ran a large-scale international money laundering operation based out of New York City. He laundered over $100 million for the Russian mafia between 2007 and 2013 using shell companies, offshore accounts, and other methods. He was arrested in 2013, convicted, and sentenced to nine years in prison.
  4. Paul Manafort: Paul Manafort is perhaps one of the most well-known money launderers to have been caught due to his involvement with former U.S President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign team. He was indicted on several counts related to conspiracy against the United States, tax fraud, bank fraud, false statements, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, illegal foreign lobbying activities, as well as money laundering involving over $30 million from offshore accounts located in Cyprus and other countries between 2006-2016. In 2019 he received a sentence of 7 ½ years imprisonment for all charges combined. It has since been reduced on appeal due to COVID-19 concerns.

Income and profitability

List of the top three sources of revenue for money launderers (AKA how do they make money?) – including percentages of income and examples in US dollars for each

  1. Tax Evasion: Tax evasion is one of the most common and profitable sources of revenue for money launderers. It involves hiding income or assets from taxation authorities, which allows criminals to keep more of their ill-gotten gains. According to a report by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), tax evasion accounts for around 30% of money laundering activities worldwide. For example, a money launderer in the US may hide $200,000 in overseas bank accounts to avoid paying taxes on it.
  2. Real Estate Investment: Money laundering through real estate investment is becoming increasingly popular among criminals. This method involves purchasing properties with illegally obtained funds as a way to launder money without raising suspicion from financial institutions or government agencies. According to the FATF report, real estate investment accounts for approximately 20% of all money laundering activities worldwide. For example, a money launderer in the US may purchase several luxury apartments with $500,000 cash to hide the origin of the funds.
  3. Shell Companies: Shell companies are another popular method for money launderers to conceal their illegal activities and profits. These companies typically exist in offshore jurisdictions, then used as vehicles to transfer funds across borders without detection. The FATF report estimates that shell companies account for roughly 10% of all global money laundering activities. For example, a money launderer in the US may use an offshore shell company to move $100,000 from one country to another without being detected by authorities.

Pricing: What are average prices among money launderers?

Money laundering is a serious crime, but it can be surprisingly affordable. Prices among money launderers vary greatly depending on the complexity of the job and the amount of money being laundered, but there are some general trends that can help you get an idea of what to expect.

At the lower end of the scale, there are some money launderers who charge as little as $500 for smaller jobs. These services usually involve moving small amounts of cash through a series of shell companies or other legal entities in order to obscure its origin. This type of laundering is often used by drug dealers and other criminals looking to quickly move their ill-gotten gains out of sight.

For more complex jobs, however, prices can climb significantly higher. Money launderers willing to handle larger sums often charge anywhere from 5% to 10% of the total amount being laundered. For example, if you were looking to launder $1 million dollars, you could expect to pay between $50,000 and $100,000 for a professional money laundering service.

Finally, there are some high-end money laundering services that offer “white glove” treatment for those with deep pockets. These services typically involve creating a complex web of offshore accounts and shell companies that make it virtually impossible for law enforcement officials to trace the source of funds. Prices for these services can range from hundreds of thousands up into the millions depending on how much work needs to be done and how much money needs to be moved around.

So while it might not be cheap, if you’re looking for someone who knows their way around the world of financial crime then you don’t have to break the bank either!

What are the profit margins in the money laundering business? In a percentage range.

The profit margins in the money laundering business are truly remarkable. It’s a great way to turn a quick buck, and with minimal effort. The truth is, it’s not uncommon for money launderers to make anywhere from 5-10% profit margins on their transactions – and sometimes even higher depending on the size of the deal.

Of course, these high profits come with some risks. Money laundering can be a very tricky business, and there are plenty of laws and regulations that must be followed or else the launderer could face serious legal consequences. This means that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up losing a lot of money instead of making it. But if you do your research, stay one step ahead of the law and use your contacts wisely, then money laundering can be an incredibly lucrative endeavor.

In fact, some experts estimate that money launderers can make upwards of 20% profit margins on their transactions – which is quite impressive considering how little effort is required to pull off such deals. So if you’re looking for a way to make some easy cash without too much hassle or risk, then money laundering might just be the perfect business for you! Just remember to stay smart and play by the rules so that you don’t get caught up in any legal trouble.

How much money do money launderers make?

Money laundering is a lucrative business, and money launderers can make a lot of money. Depending on the size and sophistication of their operations, they can make anywhere from a few thousand dollars to millions.

Let’s start with small operations. For instance, an individual might use cash deposits or wire transfers to move around a few thousand dollars at a time. This type of activity often hides illegal activities such as drug dealing or tax evasion. The launderer could make anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars for each transaction.

Moving up the ladder, medium-sized operations involve more sophisticated techniques such as shell companies and offshore accounts. These types of methods are used to move larger sums of money – sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range – without raising suspicion. The launderer can make anywhere from several thousand to tens of thousands for each transaction.

Finally, large-scale money laundering operations involve complex networks that span multiple countries and jurisdictions. Criminal organizations or corrupt governments thus hide the true source of their funds, which can be in the millions or even billions of dollars range. Money launderers in these cases can make hundreds of thousands or even millions for each successful operation they carry out.

Overall, it’s clear that money laundering can be quite profitable for those involved – regardless if it’s small-time operators looking to hide a few thousand dollars or criminal organizations trying to launder billions without detection.


What is the cost to build a money laundering business? With an example.

Building a money laundering business can be expensive. Depending on the size and complexity of the operation, the cost can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars. For example, setting up a shell company in an offshore jurisdiction could cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. This includes legal fees for incorporating the company as well as setting up bank accounts and other accounts associated with it.

In addition to the cost of setting up a shell company, there are other costs around money laundering. These include hiring accountants and lawyers who specialize in money laundering activities; paying bribes to government officials or other people who may be able to facilitate illegal activities; purchasing sophisticated software and hardware used for financial transactions; and renting or buying properties that will serve as fronts for money laundering operations.

The cost of running a money laundering business also involves ongoing expenses such as paying employees, maintaining accounts and records, purchasing supplies, making payments to third parties involved in money laundering activities, and so on. All these costs add up quickly and can easily amount to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars over time.

All in all, building a successful money laundering business is not cheap. It requires substantial upfront investment as well as ongoing expenses that must be carefully managed if one wants to remain profitable. But if done right, it can be an incredibly lucrative endeavor – just make sure you’re prepared for the hefty price tag that comes with it!

List and description of the top three ongoing expenses for money launderers. What percentage does each represent?

Money laundering is an illegal activity that involves disguising the proceeds of criminal activities as legitimate income. It is a complex process that requires significant resources and often involves multiple layers of transactions and financial instruments. The top three ongoing expenses for money launderers are:

  1. Professional Fees: Money launderers rely on professionals such as lawyers, accountants, bankers, and other financial advisors to help them move their illegally obtained funds through the system without drawing attention from law enforcement. These fees can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the complexity of the scheme. This expense typically accounts for around 20-30% of total money laundering costs.
  2. Transaction Costs: Moving large sums of money between different jurisdictions often requires paying a variety of transaction fees such as wire transfer fees, foreign exchange fees, and other banking charges. These costs can add up quickly and typically represent 10-15% of total money laundering costs.
  3. Tax Evasion Costs: Money launderers need to go to great lengths to avoid detection by tax authorities in order to protect their ill-gotten gains from being seized or confiscated by government agencies. This often involves setting up offshore companies, hiring tax advisors, or using complex financial instruments that allow them to hide their assets and income from scrutiny. This expense usually accounts for 5-10% of total money laundering costs.

Overall, these three expenses represent around 35-55% of total money laundering costs depending on the complexity and scope of the scheme employed by the criminals involved in the activity. Money laundering is an expensive business but one that pays off handsomely if done properly – allowing criminals to enjoy their ill-gotten gains with relative impunity!

History, strategy and challenges

What is the history of the money laundering business? With examples for each continent of the world.

The history of money laundering is a long and sordid one, with examples from every continent in the world. It began in ancient times, when rulers would hide their ill-gotten gains by transferring them to secret accounts or smuggling them out of the country. In medieval Europe, wealthy merchants would use trade networks to launder their money through foreign countries. In the United States, money laundering has been linked to organized crime since the early 20th century.

During Prohibition, criminal gangs used cash to finance their operations and then laundered it through legitimate businesses such as restaurants and nightclubs. Later, drug cartels used complex financial networks to move large amounts of cash between countries without detection. In Asia, money laundering has been linked to corruption for centuries. Some of Japan’s powerful politicians have been known to use slush funds and shell companies to hide their wealth from public scrutiny.

In China, underground banks have been used to move large sums of money overseas without detection. In Africa, money laundering is often linked to natural resource exploitation and illicit arms deals. For example, diamonds mined in conflict zones are often sold on the black market and then laundered through legitimate businesses or transferred into offshore accounts. Latin America has long been a hotbed of money laundering activity due to its proximity to major drug trafficking routes. In Mexico alone, an estimated $25 billion is laundered each year through real estate purchases and other investments.

Finally, in Europe there are numerous examples of high-profile cases involving money laundering activities across borders. From Russian oligarchs hiding billions in offshore accounts to Italian mafia clans using shell companies to move large sums of cash undetected—money laundering remains a serious problem throughout the continent today.

Interesting facts about money laundering

Money laundering is one of those activities that can make even the most law-abiding citizen feel a little bit naughty. It’s the kind of thing that seems to exist in a shadowy underworld, with mysterious organizations and shady characters. But believe it or not, there are some interesting facts about money laundering that you may not know.

First off, money laundering isn’t just something that organized crime syndicates do. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 5% of the global GDP is laundered each year! That means even legitimate businesses are getting in on the action.

Another interesting fact is that money laundering isn’t always illegal. In some countries, it’s actually permitted as long as certain conditions are met. For example, in Switzerland, banks are allowed to accept deposits from foreign sources without having to report them to the authorities. This makes it easier for people to hide their wealth from taxation and other legal obligations.

One of the most common methods of money laundering is known as “smurfing.” This involves breaking up large sums of money into smaller amounts so they can be transferred through multiple accounts without raising suspicion. Smurfing is also used by criminals who want to avoid detection by law enforcement agencies.

Finally, there’s an entire industry dedicated to helping people launder their money legally. These companies offer services such as setting up offshore accounts and providing advice on how best to move funds around without arousing suspicion from authorities or financial institutions.

So there you have it: Money laundering isn’t just an activity for shady criminals; it’s a complex process with its own set of rules and regulations – and even legitimate businesses get in on the action!