The internet is a hotbed of fraud that ensnares unwary individuals in scams and schemes every day. The aim of scammers is to separate honest people from their hard-earned dollars. That’s bad enough, of course.
But there are even worse consequences that can arise from an online scam. Some who get targeted by scammers get roped into committing illegal acts – whether knowingly or unwittingly. Here’s how one scam could land an honest person behind bars.
Could you be a money mule?
You may or may not have heard the term money mule used for someone who helps facilitate the transfer of illegally gotten funds through a series of bank or other financial transactions. The term “mule” is a nod to drug smugglers who are often referred to as mules for moving drugs across international borders.
And drugs might be the source of those ill-gotten funds. Along with the money generated by human trafficking and online swindles, those who profit off these schemes must find ways to legitimize these dollars. One of the easiest ways is to dupe someone else into running the money through their own legal bank accounts.
Sometimes these scammers meet their marks on dating sites and social media. Others prey on jobseekers by fooling them into setting up shell corporations and fake limited liability companies (LLCs) to launder this dirty money. These scammers make it seem as if the job is legitimate when it is anything but that.
Innocent people can wind up with serious charges
Money muling is just another form of money laundering, a white-collar crime that can result in a felony conviction. If you get arrested for illegally moving money from one account to another, never speak to the police without legal guidance to defend you against these serious charges.