Gardaí have issued a public warning about the consequences of people allowing themselves to act as money mules or money laundering.
A money mule is a person who transfers illegally obtained money between different payment accounts, very often in different countries, on behalf of others.
Following a recent incident reported in Ennis recently, Gardaí have issued an appeal to people not to allow themselves to used as money mules.
Crime Prevention Officer for Clare Sergeant Triona Brooks has outlined the circumstances of the recent local incident.
“On the 13th February a teenager and his parents reported to Ennis Garda Station that he had willingly allowed his bank account to be used the week previously for a fraudulent lodgement – this teenager had been contacted via Snapchat and gave his bank account details to a person.
Usually students who share bank account details do so on the promise of a relatively small financial gain. By allowing their accounts to be used they are facilitating the commission of criminal activity and the laundering of illegally obtained money,” she said.
“A Money Mule is a person who transfers money illegally on behalf of other people. They may or may not be aware of the crime. However, they are complicit if they recklessly allow their account to be used to launder the proceeds of these crimes.
Anti-money laundering legislation is designed to prevent Organised Crime Gang members from opening up accounts so they need money mules to launder their money. Students are an easy target and they are often approached online, on campus, or while out socialising,” Sgt Brooks added.
The Garda advice is:
Do not allow anyone to use your bank account.
Do not share personal bank account data.
Do not send or receive money.
Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true it most likely is. Be wary of any approaches or opportunities to make easy money.
If you are approached to facilitate this crime – say no and report the matter to An Garda Síochána. Parents need to keep control of their child’s bank account.
What is the Penalty?
If you agree to allow your account be used in this way you are committing the offence of Money Laundering. Money Laundering is a serious offence which on conviction can carry a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. This will have a serious impact on student’s future travel and career opportunities.