Letterkenny-based ‘money mule’ lured on Snapchat in fraud scam

June 29, 2021

A YOUNG student used as a ‘money mule’ has been convicted of handling almost €8,000 which was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Saja Elnaim (24) was convicted of handling €7,871.03 at AIB Bank, Letterkenny on May 31, 2019.

Letterkenny District Court heard that Elnaim, originally from Sudan, was contacted via Snapchat and offered €200 for her part in a redirect fraud.

The funds were destined for a named company, but fraudulently ended up in Elnaim’s account. The money was subsequently intercepted.

Elnaim, of Highland Drive, Foxhills, Letterkenny,  was charged under the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act of 2010.

Defence solicitor, Mr Frank Dorrian, said Elnaim was a student at IT Sligo at the time.

Elnaim was contacted via Snapchat with €200 offered for borrowing her credit card details.

“She had nothing to fear as there was nothing in it,” Mr Dorrian said. “She parted company with it and never saw it or anyone again. The money would have been diverted to that credit card and the holder could withdraw it.

“She went to the bank to get a new card as she hadn’t heard anything. She was told that her account had been frozen due to a suspicious transaction.”

Mr Dorrian said Elnaim ‘proceeded against her best intentions’ and appealed to Judge Alan Mitchell not to convict his client, who has graduated with a biomedical technology degree.

“She is not predisposed by tis behaviour,” he said. “She will travel to shores far beyond the EU for employment and maybe a conviction would not be entirely proportionate.

“The allure of €200 overtook her good reason. Se was impressionable, vulnerable and unwise – but nothing more. She is unlikely to commit an offence of this or of any kind. This is the only indiscretion that she has ever been involved in.”

Judge Mitcell said he had to send out a strong message to those involved in such scams.

“Unless convictions are imposed, the whole thing will be out of kilter.

“I have to send out a message. Yes, there are young people and students being targeted, but imposing convictions on those coming into court is the only way to knock it out.

“Yes, there  is the allure of €200 for a cash-strapped student, but now they see if they are caught they will get a convictions.”

Judge Mitchell fined Elnaim, who has no previous convictions, €250, giving her six months to pay. Recognisance of €1,000 nil cash, in the event of an appeal, was fixed.