What is a Smurf?

Smurf is a term used for a person who works with money launders to put illegitimate money into legitimate financial institutions. This is not a little blue cartoon person. In fact, this is anything but funny.

A criminal may use one smurf or a team of smurfs, it just depends on the scope of the money laundering operation.

How does it work?

The smurf may use small amounts of cash so that it does not draw attention to what they are doing. This money is put into a bank account or to several bank accounts. A cash transaction for traveler's cheques or a money order might also be a way of getting ill-gotten gains into the system.

The smurf may spend just one day doing this at several locations or can be several days. It is likely that the process will be mixed up to help prevent detection. Be aware that the amounts will be under $10,000 as this is the level where documentation is required.

Once the dirty money has been processed through the system it is then returned to the criminal. Now the money in the bank account can be transferred through an electronic fund transfer (eft). The money has been successfully laundered.