Financial scams sometimes seem obvious, making it easy to wash your hands of them. Other times, they are less recognizable, with well-developed schemes using technology to appear legitimate. Unfortunately, accusations of participating in money laundering may come your way, regardless of your knowledge or intent.
It’s one thing to transfer funds to someone you know. But, especially in business, that isn’t always your only option, as you consistently add new customer accounts and increase your interaction with outside vendors.
How does money laundering happen?
The seemingly innocent transfer of funds into your account may be the beginning of your money mule activity if you’re not careful. You may not even be aware of your involvement with such illegal activities, not knowingly choosing to participate. However, it is still possible to draw attention from agencies such as the FBI, due to law enforcement efforts to thwart money laundering operations.
Whether disguised as a charity case, for business purposes or a job opportunity, money laundering deposits often leave some compensation in an account after the majority of the funds are transferred out of it. In many instances, amounts are so minimal they might not attract your attention.
Possible red flags
Agencies like the FBI often interview more people than they convict for criminal activities such as money laundering. Being aware of possible red flags can help you protect yourself against such white collar accusations.
To protect yourself, you can keep an eye out for activities which include:
- Quick turn-around of deposited funds
- Multiple small deposits
- Specific requests for certificates of deposit
- Web-based email services, such as Hotmail or Gmail
- Requests to process funds through money services, like Western Union
In some cases, you might be able to avoid participating in money laundering efforts by researching the person or company requesting to exchange financial information with you. Other times, you may involuntarily participate in such schemes, only realizing your error after the fact. Either way, should accusations come your way, experienced defense can help you fight to uncover the truth, as well as a possible money trail.