Gardaí issue warning to students as teen, 15, arrested for money muling

Gardaí issue warning to students as teen, 15, arrested for money muling

The gardaí are appealing to the public, but particularly students and young people, to never allow other people or groups to use their bank account, ATM card, or pin number, in case they become a 'money mule'.

The gardaí are appealing to students and young people to never allow other people to use their bank accounts, ATM cards, or pin numbers in case they become 'money mules'. 

This comes after gardaí revealed today that someone as young as 15 has been arrested for money muling.

Money muling occurs when stolen money is passed through another person's bank account.

The gardaí say that young people are being targeted in secondary schools, colleges and online via social media, with most people being told they will receive a percentage of the money if they authorise the use of their account.

However, the gardaí are warning that in many cases, the organised crime group will clear the person's account once the ATM card or pin number has been handed over, and there is no monetary gain for the money mule.

30 people have been arrested as part of Operation Ransom, the garda investigation into people allowing their bank accounts to be used by organised crime groups to withdraw and deposit money which was stolen from other bank accounts. 

In total, €1.5 million has been stolen so far.

Of the 30 persons arrested, 18 are male, 12 are female and the people are located all over Ireland. 

The youngest person was 15 and the oldest was 38. Over half (16) of the people arrested were juveniles.

Gardaí say they are aware of hundreds of other incidents of young people acting as money mules in Ireland, and more arrests are expected.

The gardaí are advising the public that there are serious consequences for people who act as a money mule for organised crime groups, including arrests, charges and convictions under the Money Laundering and Terrorism Act.

A conviction of this type carries a potential prison sentence of 14 years. It could also affect visa applications to work abroad, could place the person on terrorist watch lists, and could affect their ability to work in the financial sector, as well as affecting their credit rating and vetting applications.

The gardaí added that the money mule is helping international organised criminal groups and enhancing their capability to make money, and said their actions are financing drug and people smuggling, terrorism and prostitution, "among many other offences."

Gardaí are appealing to people to not allow their account to be used by anyone else. 

"Do not give away your ATM card or your pin number and do not withdraw or transfer money that comes into your account."

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