Crime, Financial Services, Latvia, Legislation

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 05.06.2020, 13:48

We state of emergency, ''money mules'' and fraudsters becoming more active - Financial Intelligence Unit

BC, Riga, 19.05.2020.Print version
During the emergency, organized crime and various types of fraudsters become more active in order to take advantage of the fact that a number of people have lost their income, including the more active use of so-called "money mules", Ilze Znotina, head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FID), told LETA.

She mentioned that the so-called "money mules" are once again more visible due to the changes in customer service arrangements introduced during the state of emergency. These are people who entrust their bank account details to others or go to banks on behalf of others to perform various financial operations.

"Such accounts are usually used for cash flows of unknown origin. Given that this is an extremely primitive activity, it is relatively easy for banks to catch such a 'money mule'. In most cases, such 'money mule' services are provided by organized crime, and organizers, group leaders are thus more difficult to catch than these people who have given their bank account details. For them, in turn, this means a damaged credit history and several unpleasant months of police investigation. The police have a great deal of experience in investigating such cases, and advice is: don't do it!" said the FID chief.

She also noted that such crises are always used by organized crime. "I want everyone to be aware of this. Here I can borrow an expression from my Italian colleagues - Covid nostra (the name of the Sicilian mafia). There are organized crime groups that are aware that incomes are declining, so there will be attempts to involve them in smuggling, to use them as "money mules", or for other illegal activities," warned Znotina.

She also acknowledged that people can engage in such criminal activities even out of naivety without understanding the true intentions of their partners.

The head of the FID mentioned that it is also visible that all types of fraud have increased, as well as the matter of insolvency will also become a very serious issue. Therefore, there is now a precautionary approach to ensuring that unscrupulous insolvency operators or insolvency service providers do not take advantage of this crisis.

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