‘Money Mule’ Initiative Halts Over 600 Fraud Schemes

Attorney General William Barr and law enforcement partners announced this week the conclusion of a national effort to halt money mule activity. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), money mules assist fraud schemes by receiving money from victims, many of them elderly, and forwarding proceeds to foreign-based perpetrators. The two-month initiative resulted in disrupted mule networks from Hawaii to Florida and from Alaska to Maine.

The DOJ reported that over 600 domestic money mules were halted due to the initiative. Last year, a similar effort led to roughly 400 disrupted networks. The Department of Justice also noted that they have tripled the number of criminal prosecutions brought against money mules as compared to last year’s initiative.

The initiative involved:

  • Actions taken to halt the conduct of more than 600 money mules, spanning over 85 federal districts.
  • Actions to address a variety of elder fraud scheme types, including grandparent scams, romance scams, lottery and sweepstakes scams, IRS and Social Security Administration imposter scams, veteran and social security benefit redirection scams, and technical-support scams.
  • Law enforcement interviews of more than 550 individuals and served over 500 warning letters on individuals who recently served as money mules for fraud schemes.  The letters informed recipients that they could be prosecuted if they continue aiding and abetting fraud schemes.
  • More than 30 individuals who were criminally charged, in part, for their roles in receiving victim payments and providing the fraud proceeds to accomplices.
  • Search warrants executed to secure evidence from money mules who knowingly aided and abetted fraud schemes, including a number of transnational elder fraud schemes.

Attorney General Barr noted the effort included work by FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch, the U.S. Secret Service, the IRS Criminal Investigation, the Department of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, and the Office of the Attorneys General for the States of Indiana and Wyoming.

“The Money Mule initiative highlights the importance of partnership to stop fraud schemes, and it sends a message to all who are engaged in money mule activity that they will be caught and prosecuted,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The U.S. initiative coincided with the European Money Mule Action (EMMA), a simultaneous global effort to halt money mule activity.

Posted in The Takedown

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