June 19th, 2024

RCMP, B.C. Securities Commission deliver warnings to 10 suspected ‘money mules’

By The Canadian Press on June 10, 2024.

Police and the British Columbia Securities Commission say they have delivered warnings to 10 suspected "money mules" in an operation aimed at combating international investment fraud targeting people in the province. The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

SURREY, B.C. – Police and the British Columbia Securities Commission say they have delivered warnings to 10 suspected “money mules” in an effort to fight investment fraud aimed at people in the province.

A joint statement issued by the commission and RCMP says investigators have hand-delivered warning letters to people in Metro Vancouver who were suspected of transferring funds on behalf of criminals.

They say the use of the so-called mules is a common tactic in money laundering, helping criminals move their cash by concealing the source and destination of the funds.

The securities commission says it identified suspects after uncovering information that indicated they had sent or received money or cryptocurrency that had been obtained from victims of investment fraud.

It adds that in some cases, the mules might not realize they are transferring funds on behalf of criminals and they themselves may also be victims.

But if they continue to move money after being warned not to do so, the commission says they could be charged with criminal or regulatory offences.

The statement says criminals use a variety of tactics to recruit people to act as money mules, often offering a portion of the transferred funds as payment.

They may also lie about their identity, promise a job, or start an online friendship or romance, and the commission says the people transferring the money might think they’re helping a friend or performing a task for an online job.

The commission and police did not provide further details on the alleged criminal activity related to the 10 warning letters delivered last month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2024.

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