A well-known and successful businessman owned a burger franchise. He had owned this franchise for over 20 years and, yes, he was known as a pillar in the community. He was also a VERY successful money launderer. Every business day he placed his businesses deposits into a bank account at one of the local banks. His deposits were always in cash, and he always purchased change for the business’s next days activities. He also made identical deposits and change purchases, each and every day, at four other banks. The four additional deposits made at four different banks were the proceeds of street-level crack pushers and dope dealers in the community. (This is where he went from pillar to pillory of the community.) He was caught when several of the banks, in a few month time span, merged and they found identical deposits to accounts with the same name and tax ID number. Since his average of $5,500 per day deposits in cash were normal and in the ordinary course of business, there were no SAR (Suspicious Active Reports) or CTR (Currency Transaction Reports). It is estimates that for over 12 years he has laundered over $7,000,000 per year.
Money laundering has been often associated with the drug trade. These laundered sums come back to the host country in legitimized funds that are then reinvested into the criminal enterprise. The re-investment includes the purchase of safe houses, weapons, and the college education of gang members so they can be the lawyers and business managers of the gangs. In some instances the funds also find their way into municipal elections. This allows the election of gang members to city and county positions, to use the government positions to strengthen the gangs and weaken enforcement against the gangs. Money laundering is a basic support service to most criminal activity.