Money Laundering



guide launder hypothetical
sack estimate ill-gotten
deposit equivalent gross domestic product
risky process roughly (2)
phase prevent placement
tricky spread stage (2)
trace currency legitimate
savvy integrate transaction
steady dividend stream (2)
bribe extract lighthouse
fee acquire various





Minute MBA: Money Laundering; a Hypothetical How to, Guide.

Part One, The basics.

Let’s say you’re a drug dealer, a corrupt politician or a would-be terrorist — and you have a big sack of ill-gotten gains.

How big of a sack?

One million US dollars in cash — which is around 256 pounds (116 kilograms).

The International Monetary Fund estimates that up to 5% of the world’s gross domestic product, or $1.5 trillion, is laundered every year. That’s roughly 6 billion pounds (2.72 billion kg), equivalent of the Wall Street Bull, the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower times 300 every year.

Here’s how to clean your $1 million of dirty money in just three easy steps.

Step One: Placement, also known as deposit your cash in a bank.

Next to how you make your money, this is the most risky phase of the laundering process.

To prevent banks reporting you to the government, keep your cash deposits to well-below $10,000. And spread it out to over 160 accounts in twenty or more banks.

Step Two: Layering, also know as “move your money around like crazy.”

This is the trickiest and possibly most fun stage of the laundering process.

Try changing currencies for 20% . . . Buying expensive items like houses, cars and works of art for 30% . . . and investing in legitimate businesses for the final 50%.

The point is to make your original dirty money impossible to trace.

Step Three: Integration, also known as “collecting your laundry.”

At this point, your money is no longer dirty: It comes back to you through seemingly legitimate legal transactions like dividends from savvy investments in a local Italian eatery: $56,000 to $130,000 a year . . .

The sale of a particularly rare Thomas Kinkade painting of a Lighthouse: $200,000 . . .

Or the steady stream of income brought to you by your newly acquired car-wash: $100,000 to $200,000 a year.

Minus various fees, bribes and taxes (otherwise known as the cost of doing business), you can expect to make up to 80 cents on the dollar, and extract your money in as little as two to three years.

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1. Was this a guide for criminals to launder money or an educational, informative video?

2. The artist drew the pictures of three men. Who were they?

3. A lot of money in the world economy is laundered. Is this true or false?

4. You should deposit all your money in one bank in one account. Yes or no? Why shouldn’t you deposit all your money in one bank? What should you do instead?

5. What should you do with your money once it’s in a bank? Why should you do this?

6. What is “collecting the laundry”? What is the purpose of this?

7. Was this video serious or tongue-in-cheek?


A. What are examples of the sources of laundered or dirty money?

B. Do banks report suspicious money deposits, or do they collude with the depositors, or does it depend?

C. Is laundered money good or bad or both for businesses and the economy?

D. Is money laundering decreasing, becoming worse, or staying the same?

E. How can money laundering be prevented?

F. What will happen in the future?

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