Law enforcement from 25 countries have linked to crack down on money mules and their recruiters.
The European Money Mule Action (EMMA8) was supported by Europol. Interpol and the European Banking Federation.
An operational phase was carried out between mid-September to the end of November 2022, 8,755 money mules were identified alongside 222 money mule recruiters, and 2469 individuals were arrested worldwide.
Over the course of the project, 2,469 money mules were arrested,1,648 criminal investigations were initiated, 4,089 fraudulent transactions were identified and €17.5m was intercepted.
Europol said, “Have you ever been asked to help transfer money by an online friend or love interest? Someone offering a way to make easy money? Someone claiming to need help as they can’t use their own bank account?
“If yes, you may have been talking to a money mule recruiter – and if you did what they asked, you may have committed a crime.
“The issue may seem trivial, yet the amount of criminal money being laundered through this method is not. Money mules are a significant part of the money laundering landscape, enabling criminals to swiftly move funds across a network of accounts, often in different countries.
“The use of money mules is especially widespread in cybercrime, with the mules transferring the proceeds from their jurisdiction to the criminal’s home country.”
Earlier this year, the European Parliament voted to give Europol – the EU’s police agency – new powers to gather and use data.
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