The FBI website describes one activity the agency monitors – money-muling. But what does that mean?
More importantly, could you innocently get involved with this white-collar crime? As it turns out, many people get ensnared in these sorts of circumstances and can face federal charges.
What is money-muling?
Money mules are involved in a type of money laundering, i.e., “washing” dirty money by passing it through a series of legitimate accounts until it gets legitimized. Whether they are aware of what they do and are willing accomplices varies case by case. Below are possible scenarios:
These folks might innocently answer a dating ad or meet a new friend online via social media. Soon, their correspondent offers them the opportunity to make a few dollars “helping” someone buy Bitcoin or other transactions.
Those who know what’s up
The FBI refers to this group of money mules as “witting,” because they understand (if not the big picture) that what they are doing is wrong. Some people begin unwittingly yet continue because they like the money once they realize their actions are illegal.
At this level of involvement, the person might be encouraged to recruit other trusted friends or relatives, perhaps for bonuses. These are the group members most frequently targeted by the FBI.
But anyone who gets involved in these transactions is at risk of being arrested on bank or wire fraud charges. Your good name, your job, your family and even your liberty may be at risk if you participated in any wrongdoing as a money mule. Learn what strategies you can use to build a solid criminal defense against the fraud charges you face.