ATM: the latest in money laundering

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Money_laundering_atm_3 Smurfing is a money laundering method where individuals make multiple, under $10,000, bank deposits and withdrawals in cash hoping to avoid the detection by authorities. According to the IMF, every year between 2 to 5 percent of the world's GDP or $962 billion to $2.4 trillion is laundered.

In 1986 the U.S. Congress outlawed this practice. Also known as microstructuring, the routine is hard to distinguish from ordinary ATM transactions.

The Wall Street Journal [subscription required] reports on the latest scheme involving $2 million a month "smurfed" to Columbia. "To evade suspicion by banks, [the suspects] always made small deposits. In Colombia, getting at that money was as easy as pushing buttons on an ATM."

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