Money laundering is the process of taking cash earned from illicit activities such as drug trafficking, and making the cash appear to be earnings from a legal business activity.  The money from the illicit activity is considered dirty and the process “launders” the money to make it look clean.Illegally earned money needs laundering in order for the criminal organization to use it effectively.  Dealing in large amounts of illegal cash is inefficient and dangerous. The criminals need a way to deposit the money in financial institutions, yet they can only do so if the money appears to come from legitimate sources. There are many ways to launder money.  These methods span from the very simple to the very complex.  One of the most common ways is to launder the money through a legitimate cash-based business owned by the criminal organization.  For instance, if the organization owns a restaurant, it might inflate the daily cash receipts to funnel its illegal cash through the restaurant and into the bank. Then they can distribute the funds to the owners out of the restaurant’s bank account. The government has become increasing vigilant in its efforts to combat money laundering by passing anti-money laundering regulations.  These regulations require financial institutions to have systems in place to detect and report suspected money laundering activities. There are no firm statistics, but it is estimated that as much as $500 billion dollars in illegal funds is laundered each year.