The hard part of money laundering

Well first they are not paying you to look the other way, but possibly someone on council or the police detectives.

Yes, just set up a business and do as little as possible . A “friend” of mine had a vidio store in a shack run by his wife and stooge for just such purposes in the late 80s.

The only one’s I’m sure of around here (California) are those tiny buildings with a big PSYCHIC sign. There is never a car parked in front of those places. It’s a perfect front; easy to explain why clients would pay cash and who the hell has any idea what the fair market price of a psychic reading is?

The IRS will only be interested in someone if they aren’t laundering their money. Spending a bunch of money with no provenance is what is going to make them look at them.

The whole point is to pay taxes on it and make it look legitimate.

Other enforcement agencies may be interested, but they can’t really do much without enough probable cause to get a warrant.

There are no public books for them to look at, they don’t know their sales, they can’t tell how much they are spending on products or labor, or even rent, unless they already have enough information on them to get a judge to let them take a closer look.

And in this day, it doesn’t even really need to be a cash business. They can use their ill gotten gains to buy prepaid credit cards, then use them.

I’m not sure how much more I should go into, as discussing how to commit a crime is against board rules, and I also don’t want to make it look like it is something that I am doing, but really, just a bit of common sense would take a money launderer a long way.

The strategies of money laundering are simple, but the logistics are a pain in the ass, which is why most criminals have someone else do it for them. Typically, give your money to a semi-legitimate business and have them cut you a paycheck for an overpaid, no-show job.

This is how Gus helps Mike launder money in Better Call Saul, except that Mike actually insists on showing up for his “security consultant” job - with humorous results.

A show which is driven by money laundering is Ozark. Here is an article about one of the schemes used in the show, written by a company that provides anti-money laundering services.

Now there’s a thought. Maybe. I didn’t get the impression that that was what was going on, though, and I think I would’ve. From my friend on the council.

I’m sticking with it being too time consuming to prove and them being understaffed in the right people.

The first rule about the Money Laundering Club is that you dont talk about the Money Laundering Club!

Good point :rofl:

You think?

At the moment, a company can earn billions in a particular country but still pay very little tax there. This is because they can choose to put their headquarters in a country with a lower tax rate and take their profits there.

For example in 2018, Facebook, which has its international HQ in Dublin, paid £28.5m in tax to the UK, although its revenue was £1.65bn.

However, under the G7 deal, companies could be taxed in any country where they make more than 10% profit on sales.

G7 tax deal: What is it and are Amazon and Facebook included? - BBC News

That’s not money laundering, it is insurance fraud.

The whole point of laundering money is to move illegally acquired cash into a legal account.

It’s mostly money laundering, the insurance fraud is just on the side. And I just presume it’s insurance fraud because it seems odd that the places burn down all the time, especially since they’re not in use. But possibly they’re burning down each other’s money laundering joints, who knows.

But I’m sure about the money laundering. It’s widely known, including, as I said, by the council.

Yes, this is correct: Money laundering and tax evasion are very different things. In a way, they’re the opposite of each other. Terrorism financing is yet something different; it’s also an opposite of money launderng, in a different way.

Money laundering is the act of taking money that comes from an illicit source, such as a crime (the predicate offence, in the lingo) and make it look like it comes from a licit source, so you can use it for a licit purpose (such as buying assets for the money launderer). It has little to do with tax evasion, other than the fact that tax evasion is a possible predicate offence from which the to-be-laundered money might come. But when you launder money, you’re not typically evading taxes. Quite to the contrary, it might be that you end up paying taxes that you don’t actually owe: In the traditional laundromat example, one way of laundering money would be to book the illicit revenue as revenue from your licit laundromat business. You now end up paying more in taxes on your laundromat business than you actually owe (because you’re going to pay taxes on laundromat sales that you haven’t actually made). These taxes that you end up paying are, from the perpetrator’s perspective, simply written off as transactions costs associated with the act of laundering, and the perpetrator may well decide that it’s worth to pay this price as having a certain amount of money that you can use (e.g. to buy assets) is better than having a higher amount of unusable money.

Terrorism financing is the reverse of money laundering: It’s the act of taking money that may well come from a licit source (such as a business that has revenue made in a lawful way) and use it for an illicit purpose. The techniques used to do that may be similar to those of money laundering, but logically it’s the reverse direction.

If you want to launder large amounts of money, international banking is the way to go. Supposedly this adds up to trillions of dollars of laundering.

Cryptocurrency is another popular way to launder money. That is only in the billions, and is mostly laundering cryptocurrency acquired for illicit services (such as ransom ware scams).

I don’t understand exactly how either of those schemes work. For the banking one it seems to be something like a crime lord gives the bank a few billion, the bank files a report saying “this may be illicit money,” and then nothing happens except the criminals can use the money to buy stuff and take out loans.

You’re not the only one:

That would be a terribly obvious scheme that anyone looking at you would almost immediately discover, and then you’ve have to explain both where you got $100k and why you split a bet on competing teams. Try explaining that to an auditor or jury.

The point of money laundering is to ‘wash’ the money of illegal origin with a plausible source of legitimate income. If you show up to your bank with $10k, or make repeated deposits or gifts to family members of slightly less than that with no explanation, the IRS and organized crime enforcement is going to be looking hard at you and probably asking about your sources of income. On the other hand, if you own a particularly busy nightclub with a lot of cash revenue (and various expenses by which you can claim to pay or ‘loans’ on which you owe interest) there are a number of ways to take raw cash from whatever illegal stream and turn it into plausible income, upon which you can pay taxes, deposit in your bank accounts, and spend openly without fear of someone asking where you got it.

Narratively, that was just a way to show Walter’s hubris. Although he started out just claiming to be making just enough money to take care of his family after cancer took him, he thrilled in being a would-be kingpin with his distinctive moniker and appearance, his vindictiveness in going after anyone who would compete with him, and his acquisition of far more money than he could ever explain having through legitimate means. And as already noted, “Saul Goodman”’s plan to launder the money made technical sense but wouldn’t have stood up to any real scrutiny; Skyler pushing him to buy the car wash both made more sense as a cover for their illegal income (even though they couldn’t have plausibly laundered more than a fraction of a million dollars a year from a single facility) and further fueled Walter’s spiteful egotism.


If I was looking to launder money I’d open a distillery/bar/strip club. It costs about $0.1 to pour a shot that costs $20. You just need 1 employee to make / pour the booze. You could easily turn $20k illegal into $20k legal every night so you could launder $100-150k per week. You’ll have to pay your taxes but losing ~30% as a laundering fee isn’t bad. If other people are looking to move money into the business they can come in on a Friday night and order bottle service for their crew at a cost of $50k per table and with ~10 tables can launder $500k per week and then they can be hired as a security consultant for $350k per week.

The markup on booze is huge so you can hide a lot of money in a little bit of volume and the strip club is a service business so having a pretty girl serve you booze topless has an unlimited markup so if you needed to move more money you would just have an upcharge for the girls wearing glitter or whatever. Sure the bartender and the girls would know the face of your clients but they wouldn’t have any info about their crimes since it’s just a handful of guys blowing off steam and cash on a Friday night and there would be a reason for no cameras as well as highering security to make sure nothing happens to the girls. The biggest challenge would be making sure everyone knows that this strip club has a real no touching/prostitution rule since you don’t want to do anything illegal.

actually, my dad worked for a money laundering place as a teenager it was a:


Supposedly at least one of the Mcdonalds in Kokomo IN in the 60s were owned by a front for the Detroit/Chicago mafia families

How it worked was The cash needed to run the store was dropped off once a week by an armored truck which picked up the money from the week before somehow no one realized it was running on all cash with no bank involved

Everything in the store was preordered by the owner althe manager had to do was show up

The only reason it got caught was someone was investigated and they traced the cash …and it still took 2 years to do it

Dad said he found all this out when he went to work and he was questioned by an FBI agent for about 20 minutes who then handed his check which had an extra 2 weeks on it …he then went to the other mc Donald’s in town and was hired there

supposedly until the late 90s, it was the only McDonalds that went out of business…

I doubt the Feds have much visibility into the inner workings of a company, certainly not to the level that would allow them to easily tell if they’re engaging in money laundering.

What they do know is that a X square foot laundromat (or restaurant, or whatever) generally makes revenue within a certain range, and if one goes out the top of the range, it’s probably eligible for scrutiny.

That’s why you see restaurants nobody goes to; they likely report income that’s entirely commensurate with a restaurant that size, and slide right on by as a money laundering operation, as the Feds don’t have any reason to investigate any further, even though you might notice that nobody ever eats there, or there are no cars in the lot or whatever.

Bars are similar- probably even better, as who’s to say there weren’t 20% more people in the bar every night for the last year, when in fact, the owner was just putting in that much ill-gained money into the till and saying there was? Nobody tracks the alcohol usage so tightly that it won’t be plausible, and once it’s on the books, it’s clean.

This seems fairly unlikely to me. Most money laundering schemes do not survive any serious attention or investigation. It looks fine on paper as long as nobody takes a serious look, so as long as you don’t draw attention to yourself by driving flashy cars and dropping lots of money around, no one is going to pay enough attention to connect the real life “sleepy laundromat” to the tax-form “successful small business”.

But that all goes out the window if an insurance company suspects arson. You know who does not fuck around? Insurance investigators. A lot of the reason that money laundering goes somewhat undetected is that enforcement is spread thin and there isn’t often an immediate financial incentive to invite the focus it requires. But when an insurance company is facing a $$$ payout, there’s lots of incentive for them to spend a good chunk of that finding a reason they don’t have to pay out.

If you had a successful money laundering operation, inviting the attention of insurance investigators and police by regularly burning it down would be catastrophically stupid. I’m not saying that it never happens, but I find it hard to believe.

Is it normal to ‘open the books’ for an insurance investigation?

In Colorado, and possibly in other states where cannibus is legal, we are seeing cannibus companies take their profits, which cannot be deposited into national or state banks, due to federal laws, and buy residential real estate for cash. The residential real estate market in the metropolitan Denver area has been and is expected to continue to be very tight. So they hold the homes for a few months and remarket them, normally at a profit, and are then able to deposit the proceeds into a national bank which will allow them then to move capital anywhere at that point.