Am I Being Used as a Money Mule?

Posted on in Federal Crimes

chicago criminal defense lawyerGenerally speaking, a “money mule” is a person who helps criminals launder the proceeds of their criminal enterprise so that it appears legitimate. Some money mules know exactly what they are doing - these individuals are aware of the true source of the money they handle and are intentionally participating in a money-laundering scheme. However, some money mules are innocent actors who have no idea that they are being used to further a criminal enterprise. 

Some, unfortunately, do not discover the truth until they have been arrested and charged. If you have faced one of these unwelcome wake-up calls from the federal government, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Demonstrating your lack of knowledge could prove difficult. 

What Does a Money Mule Do? 

A money mule is a type of money launderer, whether they know it or not. The proceeds of illegal activity, like drug trafficking or bank fraud, are funneled through a money mule, who then returns most of the funds to the criminals in a way that makes it appear as if they came from a legitimate source. The mule takes on a significant risk of being charged with a federal crime. 

Criminals may use a variety of methods to do this. They may change the form of currency, cycling through checks, virtual currencies like Bitcoin, and the money mule’s personal or business accounts in an effort to disguise its source. 

How Can I Tell if I am Unknowingly Serving as a Money Mule?

Be wary of apparent work-from-home job offers that involve depositing or cashing checks and sending money around. Also, be aware that this scam can happen on dating sites as well. If anyone you do not already know well and trust is asking you to deposit funds and then send a portion elsewhere, it could be a criminal seeking an unwitting money mule. 

Unfortunately, during this past year as more and more people sought work-from-home opportunities, these scams have become more common. If you suspect that you have already become caught up in one of these schemes, you should talk to a lawyer right away, even if you have not yet been charged. An attorney may be able to get on top of the situation and help you to avoid facing criminal charges for something you did not realize was related to crime. 

Contact a Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you suspect that you are being used as a money mule - or found out that you were because you have been arrested - the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel may be able to help you avoid potentially serious consequences. Our experienced Chicago federal criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in how people can become involved in these schemes and will put forth a strong defense on your behalf. Call 312-629-0669 to arrange a free consultation. 



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