The Role of a Money Mule
Money mules are commonly used in connection with financial crimes. The role of a money mule is to move money from illegal practices so that it is harder for the police to track where the money came from. This is also a form of money laundering. For example, a portion of money made from drug trafficking or fraud may be passed along to a money mule who is directed to purchase prepaid debit cards with the funds. Then, the main criminal offender gets the prepaid cards. If the money mule is aware of what they are doing, they will often be paid as well.
How Could I Not Know I’m a Money Mule?
You may be wondering how you could possibly be unaware that you are serving as a money mule. The fact of the matter is that many people are unwittingly money mules.
Signs you may be being used as a money mule include:
- You were asked to open a bank account and accept funds from someone you barely know
- You were asked to open multiple bank accounts
- You were offered an easy way to make money that takes no effort
- You were asked to forward money from people to people you don’t know
- You work for an employer that uses a web-based email like Gmail or Yahoo
Another method may be for the main offender to form a romantic relationship with someone online and then use them as a money mule.
Can I Face Charges if I’m Unknowingly a Money Mule?
According to the FBI, yes. You can still be charged if you were unaware you were involved in criminal activity. This is unique, as most convictions require that the perpetrator had the intent to commit a crime.
If you were a money mule, you could be charged with:
- Wire fraud
- Mail fraud
- Bank fraud
- Money laundering
These are all serious federal offenses that come with a risk of jail time and monetary penalties.
Federal Criminal Defense
If you become involved in a criminal enterprise, either knowingly or unknowingly, you need aggressive defense on your side. At Scott H. Palmer, P.C., we have helped numerous clients facing charges for white-collar federal crimes.