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How romance and job scams can lead to federal charges

On Behalf of | May 18, 2023 | Felony and Federal Crimes

The internet has done much to bring together people who would otherwise never have met one another. But that can be either positive or negative, depending on the intentions of those you meet.

Unfortunately, some bad online actors have wreaked havoc on otherwise law-abiding people’s lives by involving them in illegal money-laundering schemes. Could you be one of those victims? Below are signs that you could be involved in muling money.

What does being a “money mule” mean?

Muling money is just the latest form of money laundering, i.e., taking “dirty” money obtained through criminal enterprises like human trafficking or drug smuggling and “washing” it by running it through legitimate personal or business accounts. 

The following are two common ways online predators find their victims:

1. Romance scams

Social media is one portal that allows some online criminals to make initial contact with their marks. Once you accept that Facebook friend request or answer that Insta DM from an attractive stranger, they can begin their con job.

They might say they are in the U.S. military and stationed abroad, or they are working as a civilian government contractor overseas. They woo you with words, then suggest a way for you to help them buy cryptocurrency using your account or one they propose that you open.

2. Employment scams

The economy remains shaky in 2023, and people are looking for ways to work from home. That makes them prime targets for criminals to pretend to “interview” and “hire” them to work their scams. Suddenly, they will be asked to send and receive sums of money, often from multiple accounts.

Could you be caught up in a criminal’s net?

Whether you are a witting or unwitting participant in the money-laundering scheme, you still could be arrested, tried and convicted on felony charges. Learn about all your options for launching a robust defense against white-collar criminal charges.