Gardaí identify 232 "money mules" in Ireland
Five recruiters were also arrested.
More than 200 people have been arrested in 31 countries following a three-month global investigation into money laundering,
Gardaí announced on Wednesday that as part of the fifth European Money Mule Action (EMMA 5), which took place between September and November this year, 232 Money Mules in the Republic of Ireland have been identified as well as five recruiters who have been arrested.
Money mules are not shuffling illicit goods over a physical border but are instead taking part – often unknowingly - in money laundering activities by receiving and transferring illegally obtained money between bank accounts and/or countries.
“Even if money mules act unwittingly, they are committing a crime. Law enforcement will turn first to whoever’s name features on the bank account, and the legal consequences can be severe,” Europol said.
Recruiters of money mules are coming up with clever ways to lure in their candidates, such as romance scams and get rich quick ads on social media.
Three criminal investigations have been opened as a result of the operation and remain ongoing.
An Garda Síochána with the assistance of financial institutions has prevented the loss of €555,000 through fraudulent money mule transactions.
Across Europe, 1,025 criminal investigations were opened as part of the operation. More than 650 banks, 17 bank associations and other financial institutions helped to report 7520 fraudulent money mule transactions.