Authorities consider useful money laundering statistics essential in their constant fight with criminal organizations of all kinds. Money laundering in its most basic form is the act of concealing illegally obtained money. Simply because money was obtained through illegal activities does not make it laundered money. The true offense comes in when the source of the income is covered up. So, this is where money laundering statistics come out as reliable sources for combating illegal activities, no matter the size.
The International Monetary Fund, an organization that oversees the global financial system, has stated that up to 2% to 5% of the worldwide economy is laundered money. Money laundering statistics seem to vehemently support this idea. After all, Mexico's GDP is at least estimated to be 5% consistent of laundered money, while Colombia's economy receives $6 billion annually from drug trafficking; and if there is one thing true about money laundering, its quite profitable.
For illegal activities, the amount of dollars Americans spend on possible money laundering-sponsored drugs every year is stunning. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates that $36 billion is spent on cocaine, $11 billion on marijuana, and $10 billion on heroin annually by Americans. Organized crime syndicates made around $1.5 trillion in 1999, according to the United Nations Human Development Report. As time has passed, that number has assuredly risen with the cover-up techniques of money laundering. Worldwide, we're looking at a global crime scene that makes more money than many developed nations and multinational corporations combined. The United States apparently is one of the havens for organized money laundering, and around 17% of our GDP is made from this illegal practice. In fact, international money laundering dwarfs almost all of the top Fortune 500 companies.
Statistics also indicate, however, that governmental anti-money laundering organizations are being established in larger amounts today. Nonetheless it is still important to remember that big money will usually have its way with governments, and "special interests" can always negate the effective progress of anti-money laundering initiatives. Almost all profit generating crime results in laundered cash, with very little comparatively being taken in by non-hidden sources. With these stats in mind, its our duty as citizens of this world to support international organizations designed to take out laundering for good.