In a recent operation that ran from mid-September to the end of November 2022 Law enforcement from 25 countries, supported by Europol, Eurojust, INTERPOL and the European Banking Federation (EBF) joined forces to crack down on one of the most important enablers of money laundering: money mules and their recruiters.
A ‘money mule’ is a person who transfers stolen money on behalf of others, usually through their bank account. Criminals contact people and offer them cash to receive money into their bank account and transfer it to another account.
During the operation 8,755 money mules were identified alongside 222 money mule recruiters, and 2,469 people were arrested worldwide.
This was the eighth European Money Mule Action (EMMA8). EMMA is the largest international operation of its kind, built around the idea that public-private information sharing is key to fighting complex modern crimes. This year, and with the continuing coordination of the EBF, around 1,800 banks and financial institutions supported law enforcement in this action, alongside online money transfer services, cryptocurrency exchanges, Fintech and Know Your Customer (KYC) companies, and multinational computer technology corporations. Related actions were carried out in countries as far apart as Colombia, Singapore and Australia.
- 2,469 money mules arrested;
- 1,648 criminal investigations initiated;
- 4,089 fraudulent transactions identified;
- €17.5 million intercepted.
Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.
Don’t Be a Mule!
The campaign is available for download in 26 languages and informs the public about how these criminals operate, how to recognise the signs and what to do if they become a target. For more information visit Europol’s website.
If you think that you might be being used as a mule, act now before it is too late! Stop transferring money and notify your bank and your national police immediately.
The EAST Expert Group on Payment and Transaction Fraud (EPTF), which meets three times each year, focuses on the prevention of money laundering. The 14th EAST EPTF meeting took place on 9 November 2022.