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“Gardaí Warn of Rising Threat as Criminal Networks Recruit Teens as ‘Money Mules'”

According to garda, children as young as 14 are being recruited as “money mules” for sophisticated international organised criminal activities.

Money mules enable criminal groups to launder money earned via fraud by using their bank accounts. They are usually recruited using social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, although others are persuaded to work as money mules by their friends.

Money mules, according to Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, can be convicted of money laundering.

“It carries a potential prison sentence of 14 years,” Detective Superintendent Cryan stated during a press conference. Aside from that, the guards will search your residence. You will be detained, photographed, and fingerprinted, and your DNA will be extracted. “If you are charged and prosecuted, you may be required to appear in court, it may be reported on, and your picture may appear in the paper.” “Your bank account will be closed, and no new applications will be accepted by other banks.” You might be added to a terrorist watchlist.”

He stated that it might have possible consequences for acquiring loans, visas, or jobs. “On top of that, you could end up owing a debt to a criminal organisation,” Detective Superintendent Cryan explained.

He urged parents to talk to their children about the risks of becoming a money mule and to be on the lookout for signals of their children “coming into money.”

Other symptoms, according to him, include youngsters making pricey purchases, acquiring new pals online, or acting secretively and anxiously.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was “an explosion in recruitment” of money mules, according to Detective Superintendent Cryan.

“It’s happening in secondary schools,” he explained. It’s happening to children as young as 14 or 15 years old. The average is between 19 and 20. We’ve also seen them in their 50s and 60s, which is unusual but not unheard of.”

“It’s difficult to know whether it’s decreasing or not,” Detective Superintendent Cryan added.

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