Gardaí issue public warning over "money mules"
A 2019 FraudSMART survey has been cited by the Gardaí in a public warning about "money mules."
Over 1,600 "money mule" cases were reported to An Garda Síochána by Irish retail banks last year. These are cases where someone allows their bank account to be used by someone else to keep money or transfer money for a fee.
In many cases, this behaviour facilitates other crimes, such as money laundering.
The survey found more than two in five (43%) of 18-24-year olds are likely or very likely to lodge or transfer money for someone using their own bank account in exchange for keeping some of the money for themselves. This makes them the age group most susceptible to becoming money mules compared with an overall average of 29% of adults across all age cohorts surveyed.
Detective Inspector Catharina Gunne from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said; "A Money Mule is a person who transfers money illegally on behalf of other people. They allow their account to be used for the transfer of ill-gotten gains. 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. Students are often targeted by Organised Crime Gangs to act as money mules, laundering thousands of euro through their accounts in exchange for a few hundred euro.”
The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau is currently investigating a €2 Million Euro money laundering fraud involving approximately 200 "Money Mule” accounts. The funds are the proceeds of a multi-million Euro fraud. These monies were sourced from a series of account take overs involving a financial institution outside Ireland's jurisdiction.