The PenFed Credit Union in an alert it issued about money laundering described a Money Mule “as someone who transfers and launders money acquired illegally in the following manner: in person, through a courier service, or electronically (for example, by using your account with PenFed or another financial institution to transfer the funds) on behalf of others. Money Mules are often recruited online in what they believe is a legitimate reason – unaware that the money is the product of a crime. The money is transferred from the Mule’s account to the scammer, typically in another country.”
The alert identified these risk of becoming a Money Mule:
Warning signs are listed as:
Lawyers are ripe targets for money laundering scams because fraudsters know from Client Trust Account scams that lawyers are well situated to facilitate money transfers. The twist for lawyers in this scam is that the certified check they receive, unlike the one in trust account scams, is not a forgery. The third party receives real money and the lawyer gets a real fee. When the money laundering crime is discovered, the lawyer-Money Mule should expect no mercy from prosecutors.
* Source: PenFed Credit Union, “Money Mule scams are on the rise.”