Money laundering

Money laundering

Money laundering refers to activities designed to conceal the true source of monies. When a person launders money, by definition, they are dealing in money that is reasonably believed to be the proceeds of crime. The money laundering offence provisions are found in the Criminal Code Act 1995. 

Organised criminals use professional money laundering syndicates to conceal the illicit nature of funds sourced from criminal activities, including human trafficking, child exploitation, drug trafficking, cyber crime, fraud offences and other financial crime.


Money laundering syndicates have been known to employ a particular method known as ‘cuckoo-smurfing.’ This method targets bank accounts of people in Australia receiving money transfers.
If you send or receive money from overseas using a money transfer business, protect yourself from cuckoo-smurfing by learning the warning signs.

Warning signs include:

  • Multiple cash deposits in amounts under $10,000.
  • Multiple cash deposits made on the same day or within a short period.
  • Cash deposits made across various branches and ATMs, including across different states.
  • Cash deposits from multiple third parties.

If you notice any of the activities described above occurring on your account, you should immediately report it to your bank and call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

View more information on cuckoo-smurfing and how it works.


Further resources

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2021-22

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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