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Glossary and abbreviations


Term Description

advance fee fraud

A scam, also commonly referred to as ‘the Nigerian scam’, in which victims are approached, usually by email, and deceived into forwarding ‘advance fee’ payments, or divulging financial information such as bank account details.

These scams attract their victims with promises of overseas lottery wins, unexpected inheritances or government windfalls.

beneficiary (or beneficiary customer)

The person (or organisation) who is the ultimate recipient of funds being transferred.

chip cash-out

The process of converting casino gaming chips into cash.

cash couriers/third-parties

People who physically transport cash on their person or as part of their luggage between international jurisdictions. Couriers may be directly connected to criminal activity and the proceeds of crime, or they may be third parties (or ‘mules’) recruited specifically for the task of moving the money offshore.

To avoid direct involvement in the money laundering process, criminals may use third parties to undertake certain high-risk transactions that might expose the criminals to law enforcement or regulatory bodies.


The means by which the individuals undertook or attempted to undertake transactions (predominantly these are  transactions conducted in person, via electronic means or through an intermediary or third party).


The type of customer/s involved in the offence (this can be an individual, business or foreign entity).

designated service

The category of ‘designated service’ (as listed in section 6 of the AML/CTF Act), or other financial product, used in the offence.

The case studies within this report have been grouped according to the primary designated services used (for example, account and deposit-taking services or remittance services).


An informal money transfer system which operates around the world, primarily in the Middle East and South Asia.

The system operates outside traditional banking and financial channels and typically involves little or no government regulation and minimal documentation.

In Australia, it is an offence for a person to provide a registrable designated remittance service unless registered with AUSTRAC on the Remittance Sector Register in accordance with the AML/CTF Act.

high-risk jurisdictions

These include:

  • jurisdictions known to be a source or conduit of narcotics or other significant criminal activity
  • any jurisdiction subject to Australian Government sanctions
  • jurisdictions known to be a secrecy haven or preferential tax regime
  • jurisdictions linked to proscribed terrorist organisations.

home equity line-of-credit fraud

A fraud type in which an applicant or interested party makes misstatements, misrepresentations or omissions to a financial institution to commit fraud.

Organised crime groups use public records to identify and collect personal information about potential victims. The group uses this personal information to contact the victim’s financial institution to gain access to the victim’s funds. The funds are then transferred into accounts held by the crime groups (36).


Also known as ‘red flags’, these are customer behaviours or activities that indicate possible money laundering or terrorism financing activity.


The industry involved in the financial transactions (some case studies involve multiple industries).


The final stage in the money laundering cycle. See the entry for ‘money laundering cycle’ in this glossary.


The location (Australian or international) where the transactions originated or were undertaken.


The second stage in the money laundering cycle. See the entry for ‘money laundering cycle’ in this glossary.

informal value transfer system (IVTS)

Global networks for undertaking financial transactions which transfer the value of currency without necessarily physically relocating that currency.

IVTS use informal funds transfers that take place outside of the conventional banking system through non-bank financial institutions or other business entities.

IVTS operations are mostly used for legitimate funds transfers and are found in most countries. IVTS are known by various names across different regions, including ‘hawala’ (the Middle East, Afghanistan, Indian subcontinent), ‘hundi’ (India) and ‘fei ch’ien’ (China).

money laundering cycle

The money laundering cycle describes the typical three-stage process criminals may use to conceal the source of illicit funds and make funds appear legitimate:

  • Placement – Introducing illegal funds into the formal financial system (for example, making ‘structured’ cash deposits into bank accounts).
  • Layering – Moving, dispersing or disguising illegal funds or assets to conceal their true origin (for example, using a series of complex transactions involving multiple banks and accounts, or corporations and trusts).
  • Integration – Investing these now distanced funds or assets in further criminal activity or legitimate business, or purchasing high-value assets and luxury goods. At this stage the funds or assets appear to have been legitimately acquired.

money laundering syndicate

A criminal group, based in Australia or overseas, that provides specific money laundering services to domestic and international crime groups operating in Australia.

Also called specialist money laundering syndicates because money laundering is the primary or only illicit activity they undertake. They differ from other crime groups that undertake money laundering as a secondary enabling activity for their primary criminal activity (such as drug trafficking).


The criminal or civil offence involved in a case (these do not necessarily represent actual charges brought against the perpetrators).

proceeds of crime

Money or other property that has been derived, directly or indirectly, through the commission of an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a state, a territory or a foreign country.

remittance services/remittance dealer (remitter)

Also known as ‘money transfer businesses’, these are financial services that accept cash, cheques, other monetary instruments or other stores of value in one location and pay a corresponding sum in cash or other form to a beneficiary in another location. Remitters transfer value using a communication, message or transfer, or through a clearing network to which the money/value transfer system belongs.

report type

The types of financial transaction reports or reports of suspicious matters submitted by regulated entities, either under the FTR Act or AML/CTF Act, which contributed to the investigation or operation detailed in each case study

round robin tax evasion scheme

A scheme where money is transferred to an overseas account and then transferred back to personal accounts in the country of origin, usually disguised as a tax-free loan.


A money laundering technique which involves the deliberate division of a large amount of cash into a number of smaller deposits to evade threshold reporting requirements.

Under section 142 of the AML/ CTF Act structuring is punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or 300 penalty units.

Structuring can also involve the layering of payments for international funds transfers to prevent the transfers attracting scrutiny from authorities.

tax avoidance

Where taxpayers minimise their tax liability by deliberately using arrangements that provide them with tax benefits that are outside the intent of the law.

tax evasion

Where taxpayers deliberately break the law and dishonestly abuse the tax system to obtain a financial benefit.

tax secrecy jurisdiction or haven

A country, region or state that does not divulge information about an individual’s financial/banking affairs or structures. These jurisdictions may be exploited to conceal income and evade tax in Australia because they do not have effective information exchange arrangements with Australia.


  • ACC – Australian Crime Commission
  • ADI – authorised deposit-taking institution
  • AFP – Australian Federal Police
  • AML/CTF – anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing
  • AML/CTF Act – Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006
  • ATM – automatic teller machine
  • ATO – Australian Taxation Office
  • AUD – Australian dollars
  • AUSTRAC – Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
  • CBD – central business district
  • CBM-PC – Cross-border movement – physical cash
  • CBM-BNI – Cross-border movement – bearer negotiable instrument
  • GBP – Great Britain Pounds
  • FIU – financial intelligence unit
  • FTR Act – Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988
  • ICTR – international currency transfer report
  • IFTI – international funds transfer instruction
  • IVTS – informal value transfer system
  • MDMA – methylenedioxymethamphetamine
  • ML/TF – money laundering and terrorism financing
  • NSW – New South Wales
  • SCTR – significant cash transaction report
  • SMR – suspicious matter report
  • TTR – threshold transaction report
  • UAE – United Arab Emirates
  • USD – United States dollars


  1. Investopedia, Protect yourself from HELOC fraud,  viewed 1 September 2014.
Last modified: 10/02/2015 16:39