RCMP Federal Policing investigators and BCSC tackle overseas investment fraud by targeting “money mules”

Jun 10th '24

The Pacific Region RCMP Federal Policing program’s Integrated Market Enforcement Team (IMET), and the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) have delivered warnings to 10 suspected “money mules” to combat offshore investment fraud that targets British Columbians.


During a joint operation on May 29 in Metro Vancouver, IMET and BCSC investigators hand-delivered warning letters to people suspected of transferring funds on behalf of criminals. The use of money mules is a common money laundering tactic, helping criminals move their ill-gotten gains by concealing the identity, source and destination of funds.


People who move money for criminals can be criminally charged for possession or laundering the proceeds of crime. If part of an investment fraud scheme, moving money for others can also lead to allegations of misconduct under B.C.’s Securities Act.


The BCSC identified the suspected money mules after uncovering information that they sent or received money or cryptocurrency that was obtained from victims of investment fraud.


Criminals use a variety of tactics to recruit people to act as money mules, often offering a portion of the transferred funds as payment. The criminals may lie about their identity, promise job offers, start an online friendship or romance. The criminals may ask people to “process payments,” “transfer funds” or “re-ship products” to move money from investment fraud victims to the fraudsters.


In some cases, the individuals may not realize they are transferring money on behalf of criminals, and they may also be victims of an investment scam themselves. Money mules may think they are helping out a friend or romantic partner, or performing a task for an online job. If money mules continue to send or receive funds on behalf of criminals after being warned not to do so, they could be charged with criminal or regulatory offences.


The RCMP and BCSC will continue collaborating as part of a broader strategy to combat online investment fraud by identifying, disrupting, and dismantling the domestic elements of criminal networks that are often based overseas and target victims in Canada and other countries.


Tips for the public:

If you were asked to help transfer money by an online friend, romantic partner, or someone offering you easy money, you may have been talking to a money mule recruiter.


Here are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming an unwitting money mule:


  • Don’t move money on someone’s behalf if you haven’t met them in person
  • Ignore unsolicited email or social media messages that promise quick money for little or no work
  • Be skeptical if you’re asked by an employer to receive money in your bank account and then “process” or “transfer” it as part of your job


If you have already received money or crypto assets from a person you met online, or suspect you have been the victim of investment fraud, immediately notify your bank or credit union, and report it to the BCSC, or the RCMP.


Superintendent Adam MacIntosh, Officer in Charge of the Financial Integrity program – Pacific Region RCMP Federal Policing program: “As organised crime groups increasingly target the most vulnerable members of our society through investment scams, the RCMP Financial Integrity program has partnered with the B.C. Securities Commission to combat this crime trend through a multi-pronged strategy. In addition to conducting a series of joint enforcement actions against these criminal networks, we are working to strengthen our first line of defence by providing education and resources to members of the public, along with strategies to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.”


Lori Chambers, Deputy Director of Enforcement, B.C. Securities Commission: “Money mules are either knowingly or unknowingly helping criminals launder their illicit funds. We are collaborating with the RCMP to crack down on this issue, warning money mules that they cannot avoid liability by being willfully blind to the source of money. We’re also educating the public, because it’s crucial for people to be aware of these schemes to protect themselves from becoming an unwitting accomplice to fraud. By working together with police, we can deter fraudsters from exploiting British Columbians.”


Source: BCSC


About the BCSC (www.bcsc.bc.ca)

The B.C. Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia through the administration of the Securities Act.  Mission is to protect and promote the public interest by fostering:


  • A securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence
  • A dynamic and competitive securities industry that provides investment opportunities and access to capital


Learn how to protect yourself and become a more informed investor at www.investright.org


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