Limerick Garda Crime Prevention Officer Sgt Ber Leetch

GARDAÍ in Limerick warns people to be aware of organized crime gangs offering financial incentives to become financial mules, as the risk of being caught up in such criminal activity increases.

Limerick Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Ber Leetch described a financial mule as someone ‘who allows their account to be used for the transfer of another person’s stolen or illegal money’, explaining that the account holder will usually be offered or received a sum of money from the criminal gangs for the business.

“While some may be aware that they are working as a financial mule, others in vulnerable groups may not.

Despite their intentions or lack of awareness, Sgt Leetch says those involved are still complicit in criminal activity by “recklessly allowing their account to be used to launder proceeds of crime”.

She pointed out that the demographic groups most at risk of being asked to become financial mules are those aged 18 to 24 and those aged 55 and over, although she pointed out that where there is vulnerability, there is a risk of attempted exploitation.

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“Generally, it’s vvulnerable people such as those new to the country, students, unemployed or people under financial pressure this are likely to be targeted.

“Alsoyoupipe who buys and use illegal drugs may be offered luck pay off their drug debt by becoming a financial mule.

Sgt Leetch explained that criminal gang members will never reveal too much personal information about themselves in these cases, which makes it difficult for Gardaí to identify them.

This leads Gardaí to question the bank account holder who authorized the transfer of the stolen or illegal money to their account.

Gardaí urges anyone who thinks they are being approached to become a financial mule to refuse to provide banking information and to contact their local Garda station immediately.

Anyone who thinks their account has already been compromised should immediately alert their bank and the Gardaí.

“If an offer make money sounds too good to be true, it probably is. a year agoo easy money to be done,added Sgt Leetch.