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Economic Commentary

Understanding the Wash Cycle

Money laundering has gone on since the first crime was committed for profit, but it has been explicitly illegal only since 1986. Interest in this topic soars whenever a major “laundromat” is uncovered. This Economic Commentary describes the money laundering process, summarizes the evolving statutes, and describes the Federal Reserve’s role in assisting in their enforcement.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Paul, and Rhoda Ullmann. 2000. “Understanding the Wash Cycle.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 9/15/2000.