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International Money Laundering and Undercover Money Laundering Transactions

International money laundering is a federal offense. The elements of this offense include:

    • Monetary instruments transported internationally. The instruments must either originate or terminate in the United States.
    • Defendant acted with the intent to promote the carrying on of the illegal activity, concealed the original transaction, attempted to avoid tax liability, or attempted to avoid reporting requirements.
    • Transfer was done with the intent to conceal the proceeds from an illegal activity.
    • Defendant knew the monetary instrument represented the proceeds derived from illegal activity.

The transference of money or monetary instruments internationally includes all types of transfers, including wire and electronic transfers. The types of instruments that may be transferred include not only money but also securities and negotiable instruments as well.

Undercover Money Laundering Transactions

The proceeds in undercover money laundering transactions are not actually derived from the actual criminal source; they are undercover funds from the government. The transaction must be conducted by a federal agent or by an individual authorized by the federal government. The transaction must be done by the defendant with the intent to conceal or disguise the nature, source, or control of the property to avoid reporting the transaction as required.


Numerous different federal agencies are involved with investigating money laundering transactions. Some of the agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.


If the defendant is convicted of either of the above two offenses, he may be sentenced to 20 years imprisonment or he may be fined. The fine may be $500,000 or twice the sum involved in the illegal transaction, whichever is the greater amount.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.