25+ Shocking Money Laundering Statistics & Facts You Won’t Believe (2023)

Money laundering is a serious crime that can devastate individuals, businesses, and governments. 

Man Holding 100 Dollar Bill And Washing It In A Bathtub As A Reference To Money Laundering.

Money laundering is a huge problem that costs the global economy billions yearly. And it’s only getting worse.

Read our latest report to find out the shocking facts about money laundering. You won’t believe some of the statistics we uncovered!

What is Money Laundering?

Money laundering is the process of disguising the origins of money that have been obtained illegally. This can be done in several ways, including investing the money in legitimate businesses, purchasing property or other assets with the money, or simply transferring it to another account.

Money laundering is a criminal offense and can result in heavy fines or even imprisonment. In recent years, many governments have introduced strict regulations to try and prevent money laundering, but it remains a problem worldwide.

25+ Shocking Money Laundering Statistics

1) From 2008 to 2017, global financial companies incurred losses totaling $321 billion owing to non-compliance with established norms, laundering of money, fundraising for terrorism, and market manipulation.

Between 2008 and 2017, banks faced huge losses due to their failure to comply with rules aimed to prevent financial crime. The financial firms in question facilitate money laundering and assist criminals in funding terrorists and manipulating the market to their benefit. Banks commit this crime by failing to comply with AML transaction requirements and failing to send SARs to the appropriate authorities.

(Source: Bloomberg)

2) The United States received 25 fines totaling $2.29 billion in 2019, compared to 12 fines totaling $388.4 million in 2018.

The United States led the world in enforcing money laundering and other financial crimes, imposing about half of all global fines, followed by the United Kingdom. On the other hand, France was hit with the largest fine, amounting to $5.1 billion. In 2019, the average fine was 145.33 million dollars.

(Source: Accountability Daily)

3) Financial institutions paid $8.4 billion in penalties for breaking anti-money laundering requirements in 2019, compared to $4.27 billion in 2018.

The number of penalties paid by noncompliant AML institutions in 2019 is near twice the amount paid in 2018. In addition, from 29 in 2018 to 58 in 2019, the number of AML non-compliance fines doubled in 2019. This reveals a rise in the carelessness of financial institutions when it comes to filing SARs and implementing financial crime-fighting measures.

(Source: Accountability Daily)

4) Federal regulators issued AML penalties totaling more than $200 million to non-compliant financial institutions in January and February 2021.

This pattern reflects a record increase in fines imposed on financial institutions for failing to follow anti-money laundering regulations and legislation. In addition, the examination of AML compliance among financial institutions has increased, as has the passage of the Bank Secrecy Act Obligations, which will almost certainly result in a considerable increase in the severity of penalties in 2021.

(Source: Finance Feeds)

5) Global AML fines and penalties are expected to reach $10.4 billion by the end of 2020.

By the end of 2020, fines and penalties imposed on financial institutions that break anti-money laundering regulations will have increased by $2 billion. Banking institutions paid 46.4 billion USD in AML-related penalties around the world from 2008 to 2020. This is a sign that financial institutions aren’t following anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. Such a lack of attention to detail jeopardizes the relevant authorities’ efforts to combat money laundering.

(Source: Compliance Week)

6) In 2020, the Asia Pacific area issued a total of $5.1 billion in fines, while the United States issued $4.3 billion in fines.

The Asia Pacific region was ahead of the United States regarding AML fines levied in 2020. Malaysia came in the third position with $3.9 billion in fines, Australia with 921.5 million dollars in fines, Sweden with 550 million dollars, and the United Kingdom with 199 million dollars in fines. When it came to enforcing money-related criminal laws in 2020, these countries’ regulators were the best in the world.

(Source: Compliance Week)

7) Between 2021 and 2028, the blockchain market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 82 percent.

The technology of blockchain has a bright future ahead of it. Year after year, it is expected to grow at a quick rate. In 2020, the market was expected to be worth $3.67 billion. Its increasing market share is due to its efficiency and the ease with which multiple parties can participate in a transaction. It also acts as a trustworthy global repository for all transactions in which the parties are involved.

The growing demand for bitcoin worldwide is also helping to propel blockchain technology forward. Banks worldwide are utilizing blockchain technology to process payments and issue digital currencies. Furthermore, it enables banks to undertake low-cost, quick international transfers, which were previously difficult to do using previous technologies.

(Source: Grand View Research)

8) The blockchain market will expand from $3 billion in 2020 to $39.7 billion by the end of 2025.

The expected increase could be due to an increase in funding and a corresponding increase in investment in blockchain technology. The expanding usage of blockchain technology in retail and supply chains will aid this development.

As a result, investors should begin learning how the cryptocurrency market works to make profitable future purchases. The corporation will grow at a cumulative annual rate of 63.7 percent over this period.

(Source: Marketsandmarkets)

9) On April 14th, 2021, Tether traded for 153.65 billion USD, compared to Bitcoin’s 70.45 billion USD.

Bitcoin got more popular as the currency’s value increased in the years 2020 and 2021. However, it was second only to the lesser-known Tether regarding the 24-hour trading volume.

The only virtual currencies that traded for more than 100 billion dollars each were the two. Ethereum and Ripple, which have a combined market value of 31.56 billion USD and 30.78 billion USD, are two more currencies that have followed suit.

(Source: Statista)

10) There are more than 40 million cryptocurrency users worldwide.

A growing number of people worldwide are trading cryptocurrencies, which is a rapidly growing market. More people are expected to get involved in the bitcoin industry shortly.

(Source: SaaS Scout)

11) In 2021, the overall cryptocurrency market cap reached 950 billion dollars, up from 302.7 billion dollars in 2019.

This represents a threefold increase in the last three years or more than 300 percent. In 2021, the entire market value of all cryptocurrencies will be $647.2 billion, with bitcoin having the highest market capitalization, followed by Ethereum with $122.6 billion, Tether with $24.2 billion, and Lite coin with $9.2 billion.

(Source: Finance Magnates)

12) 78.95 percent of bitcoin owners purchased their coins, while just 21.05 percent mined them.

The great majority of bitcoin investors got their hands on their investments through regular channels. According to the report, this is the key reason why 61 percent of those questioned by Urnabtaphouse owned bitcoin.

About 16 million Americans had invested in bitcoin as of November 2018. Bitcoin is one of the most widely used digital currencies, with daily transactions totaling $6 billion.

(Source: Urbantaphouse)

13) Criminals stole 4.5 billion dollars in 2019, compared to 1.9 billion dollars in 2020.

According to the figures above, bitcoin theft has decreased by 57%, from 4.5 billion USD to 1.9 billion USD. Market participants have improved their security systems, which has resulted in a decline.

(Source: Reuters)

14) In 2019, criminal cryptocurrency transactions were $21.4 billion, up from $10 billion in 2020.

In 2019, unlawful activity-related transactions accounted for 2.1 percent of all transactions performed. Illicit cryptocurrency operations decreased significantly in 2020, accounting for 0.34 percent of all transactions made in that year.

(Source: ETF trends)

15) Europol charged a Bitcoin mixer with laundering 270 million dollars, or 27000 bitcoins, between May 2018 and May 2019.

The proprietor of a Bitcoin mixer was fined $60 million for breaking anti-money laundering rules, which included violating the Bank Secrecy Act and delivering money services through an unregistered company.

(Source: Europol)

16) Only 1.1 percent of the over $1 trillion in cryptocurrency transactions in 2019 were anticipated to be fraudulent.

Because it is impossible to send money to bitcoin in an anonymous manner, the chances of cryptocurrency operating as a money-laundering haven are extremely slim. It is also straightforward to track the movement of cryptocurrencies because transactions are made online, and data can be easily accessible and examined.

(Source: Cointelegraph)

17) In 2020, Bitcoins worth only 3.5 billion dollars, or less than 1% of all crypto transactions, were linked to illegal addresses.

Because Bitcoin transactions were closely monitored last year, only a few criminals benefited from them (less than 1% of all Bitcoin transactions).

(Source: Reuters)

18) 19.97% of ransomware scammers demand that their victims pay the ransom in Bitcoin.

Ransomware perpetrators prefer payment via bitcoin since sending money to an anonymous address that does not identify their identity is easier.

(Source: Ciphertrace)

19) According to the 2020 Chainalysis research, only 270 block-chain addresses laundered 55% of all cryptocurrency that went to criminals.

This is a positive development because, if the current tendency continues, money laundering in the crypto market will be virtually non-existent. The authorities will trace down and prosecute the few perpetrators.

(Source: ZDNet)

20) In the year 2020, a US exchange was sent 21. 36.7 million USD to criminals’ addresses.

The same exchange received 3.5 billion dollars also sent 36.7 million dollars to addresses linked to criminal activity. This transaction would not have been feasible if there had been effective anti-money laundering software in place. One of the reasons why exchanges should invest in suitable anti-money-laundering technology is to address this issue. If rigorous security measures safeguard them, exchanges, on the other hand, may reveal black market participants and other money-laundering offenders.

(Source: Ciphertrace)

21) Criminals will send $3.5 billion from their addresses in 2020.

Bitcoin worth 3.5 billion dollars was transferred from bitcoin addresses linked to criminals in the year 2020. Criminals tied to these bitcoin addresses dominate dark markets, while others engage in fraud, malware, and hacking.

The cryptocurrency will be poured into an exchange market, then transformed into fiat money and deposited in banks to launder the bitcoin provided by these criminals. The exchange in question identified and returned the monies due to a comprehensive Know Your Customer (KYC) process.

(Source: Ciphertrace)

22) In 2019, North America accounted for 36.4 percent of the global AML software market.

North America dominated the AML software market in 2019, owing to the region’s superior regulatory capabilities in dealing with financial crimes.

(Source: Businesswire)

23) The global market for AML software will rise to 2717 million dollars by 2025.

According to projections, the value of AML software was just $879 million in 2014, but it is predicted to climb by more than 300 percent by 2025. This surge is linked to a rise in financial institutions’ desire for anti-money-laundering technologies in order to identify money-laundering schemes more effectively.

(Source: Tookitaki)

24) The AML software market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.12 percent between 2020 and 2025.

Because of the growing demand for software around the world, this is a trend that is expected to continue year after year. To be AML compliant, many financial service organizations would consider boosting their investment in anti-money laundering software.

(Source: Businesswire)

6 Shocking Money Laundering Facts

1) The United States was the first country to consider money laundering illegal.

One of the fascinating aspects of money laundering is the name itself. Money laundering was coined by mobsters in the 1920s and 1930s who used their laundry operations to hide their unlawfully obtained earnings.

Money laundering was barely recognized as a crime at the time. Money laundering was made criminal in the United States for the first time in 1986.

(Source: Legal Jobs)

2) Money that has been laundered travels through three stages.

Placement, layering, and integration are the three stages of money laundering. The act of shifting monies from firsthand affiliation with illicit operations to a legitimate system is known as placement. Layering entails concealing the trail to avoid detection and questions about the source of the funds.

Integration is the process of making money available to criminals while making it appear as if it originated from respectable sources. Money laundering cases might go through all three stages multiple times.

(Source: Legal Jobs)

3) Bank fines for anti-money laundering policy infractions nearly reached an all-time high of $10 billion in 2019.

Fines for anti-money laundering offenses frequently fall disproportionately on banks. According to 2019 anti-money laundering statistics, anti-money laundering regulations infractions accounted for 60.5 percent of bank fines.

According to Marc Murphy, CEO of Fenergo, a startup software that helps financial institutions spot illicit activities, the new and complex restrictions have contributed to the increase in fines.

(Source: Legal Jobs)

4) Standard Chartered Bank’s apparent pattern of anti-money laundering violations continues to make headlines.

Standard Chartered Bank has a few cases of money laundering on its resume. The British bank was again punished for its lax enforcement of anti-money laundering legislation. The US Treasury Department has also admonished the bank for dealing with sanctioned countries such as Sudan, Syria, and Iran.

The bank has been ordered to pay $1.1 billion to the United States and the United Kingdom. This isn’t the first time the US government has penalized Standard Chartered Bank. The bank was fined $667 million between 2001 and 2007 for breaking anti-money laundering legislation.

(Source: Legal Jobs)

5) Criminals are using cryptocurrency as part of their money laundering schemes.

Cryptocurrency is quickly becoming one of the numerous destinations for criminals’ illicit funds. In just one year, Chainalysis tracked $2.8 billion in Bitcoin transactions made by criminals, and Binance and Huobi were the recipients of more than half of the funds.

(Source: Legal Jobs)

6) By 2023, the market for anti-money laundering software is expected to reach $1.77 billion.

The market value of anti-money laundering software is steadily increasing. The market was worth $690 million in 2016 and $868 million in 2017. The market value of the anti-money laundering business is expected to reach $1.77 billion by 2023, according to published statistics.

(Source: Legal Jobs)

7) Anti-money laundering efforts recover only 0.1 percent of criminal funds.

According to a study by Ronald F. Pol of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, nations’ joint efforts to combat money laundering appear to be ineffectual.

Based on global money laundering statistics, this researcher discovered that barely 0.1 percent of illegally obtained monies are retrieved from criminals. This allows criminals and organized groups to spend most of their funds on illicit activities.

(Source: Legal Jobs)

How does money laundering affect business?

Money laundering is a global problem that undermines the integrity of financial institution and businesses. By creating a complex web of financial transactions, criminals can disguise the origins of money obtained through criminal activity. This makes it difficult for law enforcement officials to track down the source of the cash and increases the risk that it will be used to finance further criminal activity.

Furthermore, businesses associated with money laundering can suffer significant reputational damage. In some cases, they may even be shut down by regulators, which can devastate their bottom line, and employees may lose their jobs. 

In response to mounting concern over money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force on laundered funds (FATF) was established by the G-7 Summit in Paris in 1989 to develop a coordinated international response.

How does fighting money laundering help fight crime?

Fight Money Laundering! It can help. Money laundering is a crime in and of itself. But it’s also the process that criminals use to hide the origins of their ill-gotten gains. So, by cracking down on money laundering, law enforcement can make it much more difficult for criminals to keep their profits from illegal activities hidden. This makes it harder for them to fund future criminal activities and ultimately makes society as a whole safer.

Additionally, money laundering often involves complex financial transactions that can be used to obscure the trail of money between different criminal organizations or countries. So by disrupting these financial transactions, law enforcement can make it more difficult for different criminal networks to cooperate.

Money Mules & Terrorist Financing:

A money mule is someone who illegally transfers money from one country to another, often as a part of a scam or fraud. Money mules are often recruited through online ads or social media posts, and they’re typically promised payment in return for their services.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that Money Laundering Act is a crime until it’s too late. And even if they realize what they’re doing is illegal, many money mules feel like they have no choice but to continue working because they need the money.

Money mules are often young and inexperienced, making them easy targets for scammers. They may not know how to protect themselves from being scammed, or they may not know the risks involved in money laundering.

Terrorist Financing:

Money laundering is often used to finance terrorist activities. Terrorists need money to buy weapons and supplies and a way to move money around without being caught. Money laundering provides a perfect solution because it allows terrorists to hide their money from authorities.

Money laundering is a serious crime that can result in severe penalties. It’s important to be aware of the risks involved in money laundering and to take steps to protect yourself from being scammed. If you think you may be involved in money laundering, please get in touch with a legal professional for help.


Forbes, Basel AML Public Index 2021, Tookitaki, Bloomberg, Fenergo, Compliance Week, Compliance Week, Finance Feeds, ETF trends, Cointelegraph, Europol, Reuters, Reuters, ZDNet, Ciphertrace, Ciphertrace, Ciphertrace, Marketsandmarkets, Statista, Grand View Research, Urbantaphouse, Finance Magnates, SaaS Scout, TookitakiBusinesswire, Businesswire, US Money Laundering Facts, Legal Jobs.

In Closing

Despite being highly illegal in the United States, money laundering remains a huge issue. The amount of money laundered internationally in a year is believed to be between 2 and 5% of global GDP or $800 billion and $2 trillion in today’s dollars.

Money Laundering By the Numbers Global GDP Between $800 billion and $2 trillion of the world’s global economy (2.5%) gets washed yearly, says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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Thanks for reading!

James Allen, a finance enthusiast with 10+ years of experience, founded Billpin in 2020 to demystify personal finance. Inspired by his mother’s frugality and his own financial expertise, James aims to transform people’s relationship with money. Through this site, he provides easy-to-understand guides, empowering individuals to manage their finances effectively and take control of their financial future.

Content Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the authors alone, not those of any companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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