Gardai have appealed to people not to become “money mules.”
A money mule is someone who allows others to use their bank accounts.
They are the recipient and/or disburser of fraudulent or illegally obtained funds.
The crime is increasing at a huge rate in Ireland as criminals use ordinary people to launder illegal cash.
Gardai say that about 90% of money mule transactions are linked to cybercrime.
One ongoing investigation has identified:
• 53 people acted as money mules
• In total €1.5 million was transferred through their accounts
• 32 have been arrested to date, investigations are ongoing
• 17 are juveniles
• 20 are male, average age 21, ranging 16 to 38 years
• 12 female, average age 19, ranging 15 to 22 years
Most have no prior interactions with Gardaí. Organised Criminal Gangs are targeting them in secondary schools, in colleges and via social media, including messaging apps.
The two (2) main types of Money Mules – Complicit or Non-Complicit
• These are people directly recruited by the criminal group and are aware the money is the proceeds of criminal activity
• Money Mule is recruited unwittingly
o These usually take the form of a too good to be true earning opportunity eg. Recruitment websites.
o Job offer of financial manager or money transfer agent
o Money Mule can be coerced against their will – either bullied or threatened
o Money mule can be paying off a drug debt
o Money mule thinks they are helping a ‘friend’ who can’t access banks/bank account
The Advice from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), particularly for parents/ guardians/ teachers
• Recognise this for what it is.
• Advise on the dangers and ramifications.
• By working together and reducing numbers prepared to act as money mules then we seriously reduce organised crimes capacity.
• Parents and teachers need to know how serious this is and the ramifications for the children.
• Parents need to educate their children not to act as money mules.
• Teachers need to be alert to the people in their classes recruiting money mules.
• Students need to know how they will destroy their future if they act as a money mule.