What is money mule?

Money laundering is a criminal activity and is punishable by law. There are intermediary figures involved in this process, essential assistants such as the mule or money mule. Today we explain what it is and what the implications are.

What is it?

A mule is an individual recruited by another person, group or organised crime to act as an intermediary in money laundering. The money mules receive illegally obtained funds in their accounts and transfer them to other accounts, usually abroad, charging a sum of money for each transaction. Generally, these people are contacted through seemingly legal job advertisements, internet publications and social networks with job offers that guarantee that they will earn money quickly and easily.

Even if they are not aware of committing a crime, the money mule will have to face the legal consequences which may be punishable by imprisonment, fines or community service, depending on the legislation of the country where they are tried.

How can it be prevented?

The Spanish Banking Association is participating in an initiative involving Europol, Eurojust and the European Banking Federation, supporting the European Money Muling Action (EMMA3), making society aware of the risks and responsibilities of becoming a mule in money laundering cases. This is a serious crime and punishable by severe penalties even if the mules do not know where the money comes from or if they claim to be unaware that they are committing a crime.

To avoid risky situations, it is advisable to assess what they offer and where those job advertisements that promise money quickly and easily come from and to gauge whether you are looking at a job related to a possible money laundering offence.

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