Fraud victim advocacy, fraud recoginition and prevention education, and law enforcement support

fraud recognition & prevention education, fraud victim advocacy, law enforcement support

Fraud recognition & prevention education, fraud victim advocacy, law enforcement support


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Fraud Secrets:

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Why con artists scam

Profile of a con artist

What con artists look for

How con artists set up their victims

What a con artist won't tell you

What a con artist will tell you

Have I been scammed?

12 excuses for not returning your money

How do I find my money?

Where did my money go?

If you lost your funds in an investment scam, speak to your accountant about a theft deduction.


The first step    The second step    The last step

< Where Does the Money Go?


In money laundering, the proceeds of crime are run through the financial system to disguise their illegal origins and make them appear to be legitimate funds. Most often associated with organized crime, money laundering can be linked to any crime that generates significant proceeds, such as extortion, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and white-collar crime. Although money laundering often involves a complex series of transactions, it generally includes three basic steps.

The first step is the physical disposal of cash. This placement might be accomplished by depositing the cash in domestic banks or, increasingly, in other types of formal or informal financial institutions. Or the cash might be shipped across borders for deposit in foreign financial institutions, or used to buy high-value goods, such as artwork, airplanes, and precious metals and stones, that can then be resold for payment by check or bank transfer.

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The second step in money laundering is known as layering, carrying out complex layers of financial transactions to separate the illicit proceeds from their source and disguise the audit trail. This phase can involve such transactions as the wire transfer of deposited cash, the conversion of deposited cash into monetary instruments (bonds, stocks, traveler's checks), the resale of high-value goods and monetary instruments, and investment in real estate and legitimate businesses, particularly in the leisure and tourism industries. Shell companies, typically registered in offshore havens, are a common tool in the layering phase. These companies, whose directors often are local attorneys acting as nominees, obscure the beneficial owners through restrictive bank secrecy laws and attorney-client privilege.

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The last step is to make the wealth derived from the illicit proceeds appear legitimate. This integration might involve any number of techniques, such as using front companies to "lend" the proceeds back to the owner or using funds on deposit in foreign financial institutions as security for domestic loans. Another common technique is over-invoicing or producing false invoices for goods sold--or supposedly sold--across borders.

(Excerpt from the World Bank Public Policy for the Private Sector, May 1995, David Scott, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Financial Sector Development Department, World Bank.)

"The Public Policy for the Private Sector series is an open forum intended to encourage dissemination and debate on ideas, innovations, and best practices relating to public policy issues in private and financial sector development. The views published are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the World Bank or any of its affiliated organizations. Nor do any of the conclusions represent official policy of the World Bank or of its Executive directors or the countries they represent."

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