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Money laundering refers to the process of concealing and transforming the proceeds of illegal activity to disguise their unlawful origins and ownership. Although impossible to assess accurately, between $590 billion and $1.5 trillion worth of illegally generated money is laundered annually. While profits from a number of illegal activities contribute to this estimate, a considerable percentage of this total is a result of illicit drug sales.

According to a National Drug Intelligence Center report published in 2006, between $14 billion and $60 billion in drug money transits out of the United States each year, and this money is laundered in a variety of ways either in foreign countries or in the United States. Left unchecked, money laundering fuels the drug trade and organized crime, undermines local ...

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