Drugs, prostitution, illegal gaming, fraud, extortion – where there’s money tied to a criminal activity, there’s a crook who wants to “clean” it or legitimize the money so it can be moved throughout the world’s financial system, no questions asked. Like many illegal activities, money laundering is undergoing a revolution of sorts. That’s because technology, from online casinos and social media websites to the introduction of digital currencies, is offering alternative pathways for criminals to launder illegal profits.
Money laundering is often a secondary process – preceded by an illegal activity, such as drug trafficking or an online scam. In some cases, money laundering may be used by terrorist organizations to threaten and/or carry out attacks based upon a philosophical agenda. A key element of the process is maintaining anonymity and avoiding transparency throughout the process. Where money launderers were once limited to physical currency, the advent of digital currency has compounded the complexity of the global fight against this activity.