“Smurfing", which is also known as "structuring", is the activity of breaking a large amount of money into smaller deposits and conducting multiple transactions to deposit the entire funds.
Money launderers engage this technique in order to deflect suspicion of their activities and to avoid anti-money laundering reporting requirements.
Certain countries such as the United States and Canada require financial institutions that are handling transactions which exceed $10,000 in cash to file a currency transaction report to prevent money laundering techniques such as Smurfing.
'Smurf' is a colloquial name for a person who is money laundering. The term is derived from the cartoon characters known as The Smurfs.
A criminal group who are looking to launder $60,000 in cash, for example, is likely to use a number of “Smurfs” to make numerous small deposits. These “Smurfs” may deposit amounts of around $5,000 to $9,000 to a number of geographically dispersed bank accounts and thus the reporting threshold of $10,000 would not be exceeded.