Local Gardai say there have been a number of incidents of ‘Money Muling’ of late in Donegal.
They say they want to particularly bring the issue to the attention of parents so they can speak to their teenagers and young people in relation to it.
A money mule is a person who transfers illegally obtained money between different payment accounts, very often in different countries, on behalf of others.
They may or may not be aware that this is a crime however they are complicit if they recklessly allow their bank account to be used to launder the proceeds of crime.
Anti-money laundering legislation is designed to prevent organised crime gangs from opening up bank accounts and so they then target others eg. Students to allow them to use their bank account to launder thousands of Euro in exchange for payment.
A Garda spokesperson said “Even if money mules are not involved in the crimes which generate the money (cybercrime, payment and on-line fraud, drugs and human trafficking, etc.), they are acting illegally by laundering the proceeds of crime, helping criminal syndicates move funds easily around the world and remain anonymous.
“Money Muling is money laundering. It is a crime. If you are caught acting as a money mule, even if done so unwittingly, you can face a prison sentence, fine or community service, and the prospect of never again being able to secure a mortgage or open a bank account.”
Methods used by criminals to recruit ‘Mules’.
– Via messages sent through instant messaging apps (e.g.: Whatsapp, Viber, telegram)
– Direct contact in person or by email
– Via Social Media eg. Facebook, Instagram.
– Online pop up ads.
WHO ARE THE MOST TARGETED INDIVIDUALS?
– People under the ages of 35, including minors.
– Newcomers to a Country.
– Unemployed, students and people in economic distress.
A Garda spokesperson added “If it sounds too good to be true then it usually is. Trust your instincts. Never allow your bank account to be used by anybody else. Do not disclose your banking details to anybody. Never send or receive money on behalf of somebody else.
“We intend to give presentations to the students at both 2nd level and also 3rd level institutions locally in relation to ‘Money Muling’ in the near future.
“If you think that you may already be involved in a money mule scheme, please stop transferring money immediately. Notify your Bank and contact Gardaí. If you have concerns about a friend or family member who you feel may be involved in ‘Money Muling’ then please speak to them in relation to it. We can be contacted at any time for further information or advice.”