People getting Involved, as Money Mules, for Gangs, are putting their Lives, in Danger, and their Families? Scary Reading below, Warning is Dont be a Mule?

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Arson attack on home of money mules just the latest example of violent extremes fraud gangs will go to

 2nd November 2022

Detectives are becoming increasingly concerned that gangs involved in organised fraud are using the same intimidation tactics as criminal organisations involved in the illegal drugs trade.

Gardaí suspect a recent arson attack on a property in Dublin was organised by a senior gang member who is one of the main targets of Operation Skein.

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“Two suspected money mules live in the property that was targeted,” a source explained. “The belief is that it was set on fire either as a warning for these individuals not to talk to gardaí, or because they are in debt to the gang because money has been frozen in their bank accounts.”

One of the suspected money mules who lives in the property was recently arrested and has close links to one of the main players in the organisation being targeted by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).

Both men are suspected of laundering money in bank accounts for the Irish-based gang, which has links to the global Black Axe crime group.

The source said: “What happened in this incident is similar to what drugs gangs have been doing for many years when their junior members build up debts or run into trouble with gardaí – their homes get attacked.”

This was not the first time a suspected money mule has been targeted in this way by organised fraud gangs.

A number of months ago, a bank employee was arrested in Dublin by GNECB detectives for suspected money-laundering offences after €7,000 was found in his account linked to a vishing scam.

Vishing is a tactic in which people are tricked into revealing financial or personal information to unauthorised people over the phone.

The day after his release from garda custody, the bank employee’s car was burnt out in an attack suspected of being ordered by the fraud gang.

“Again, this was believed to be either a warning against talking to gardaí or because of the money owed to the gang by him,” the source said.

In an incident related to the more recent arson attack, an innocent person’s car, which was parked near the targeted property, was set alight in a case of mistaken identity.

“This shows how dangerous and reckless these criminals are,” the source said.

The GNECB‘s long-running probe, called Operation Skein, is an ongoing investigation into fraud being committed in Ireland that includes international business email compromise (BEC), invoice redirect and romance fraud. The investigation also targets the laundering of the proceeds through Irish accounts.

Money mules allow their bank accounts to be used by the criminal organisation, often for very little cash reward. Last Wednesday, gardaí issued an official warning to third-level students not to let their accounts be used for the transfer of stolen money.

More than 830 money mules have been identified in Ireland in the past number of years.

The GNECB estimates there are at least 4,000 money mules linked to their investigations who have used Irish addresses. The majority are young people located all around the country.

Detective superintendent Michael Cryan of the GNECB said in a statement: “Those who agree to allow their bank account to be used for the transfer of illegally obtained money may not necessarily realise that they are enabling very dangerous international criminal organisations and are involving themselves with these criminals.

“It seems quite simple and at the same time quite lucrative, but the reality is that those who allow their bank account to be used are taking a huge personal risk.”

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