Gardai And Kerry Credit Unions Launch Money Mule Awareness Campaign

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An Garda Síochána has today launched a fraud awareness campaign in partnership with 13 Credit Unions in Kerry and West-Limerick to highlight the dangers of acting as a money mule.

Gardaí in the Kerry Garda Division continue to target money laundering through the bank accounts of those residing in the county under Operation Mullet.

This operation has already led to 32 prosecutions of those whose bank accounts were illegally used to launder up to €1.3 million in proceeds acquired through online fraud.

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Money mules are typically recruited via social media, through friends and acquaintances or while out socialising by what are known as mule herders. On some occasions it can also involve young people with drug debts who pay off such debts by allowing their accounts to be used.

The practice is co-ordinated and well-organised by a large criminal group. In the Tralee area, a large number of those recruited to act as money mules were aged between 16-20 years of age.

In efforts to highlight the dangers and serious legal implications of acting as a money mule, An Garda Síochána and personnel from Credit Unions across Kerry and West-Limerick will present to all local secondary schools and colleges. The expertly created presentation includes the first-hand personal experiences of two young people who have been prosecuted for the offence.

A series of webinars will be held to help inform parents and warn them of the dangers of their child being targeted to act as a money mule, while a joint social media campaign is aimed at increasing awareness among young people themselves and prevent them from becoming involved.

Speaking at the launch, Kerry Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Quirke said: “We are appealing to the public, particularly younger people, to not let anyone else use their bank account for the transfer of ill-gotten gains.

“You’re allowing yourself to become a money mule and a money mule is a person that illegally transfers money on behalf of other people. This is a crime, it is reckless and it makes them complicit in laundering the proceeds of fraud.

“It may be sold to you as an easy, straightforward task of simply providing your bank account details in exchange for a quick buck of €100 or €200, but you can’t put a price on a criminal conviction that prohibits you from so much.”

Ms. Siobhan Donnelly, Credit Union, added: “We are very happy to join with An Garda Síochána in their efforts to tackle money laundering and money muling.

“As a Credit Union, we believe in people helping people and we take our social responsibility very seriously. We want to educate our members and protect our local communities across Kerry and West-Limerick from the dangers of this criminal activity. That is why it’s so important that we be centrally involved in this initiative, and our staff are looking forward to helping to deliver this message among young people in particular.”

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