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

B.C., Federal Policing

2024-06-10 08:00 PDT

File # 2024-10780

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.

Logo of the Pacific Region Financial Integrity Program

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:

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.

Source: Superintendent Adam MacIntosh, Officer in Charge of the Financial Integrity program- Pacific Region RCMP Federal Policing program

Logo of the BC 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: Lori Chambers, Deputy Director of Enforcement, B.C. Securities Commission

About the B.C. Securities Commission (bcsc.bc.ca)

The B.C. Securities Commission, an independent provincial government agency, strives to make the investment market benefit the public. We set rules, monitor compliance by industry, take action against misconduct, and provide guidance to investors and industry. As guardians of B.C.’s investment market, we’re committed to maintaining a market that is honest, fair, competitive and dynamic, enabling British Columbians to thrive.

If you have been a target of an investment scam, even if a financial loss did not occur, it is advised that you alert your financial institution, contact your local police agency, notify B.C. Securities Commission, and report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at 1-888-495-8501.

This press release was jointly prepared by the BCSC and the Pacific Region RCMP Federal Policing program.

BCSC Media Contact:
Elise Palmer
Public inquiries:
604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll free)
Learn how to protect yourself and become a more informed investor at www.investright.org

Released by:

Cpl. Arash Seyed
Media Relations Officer
Federal Serious & Organized Crime (FSOC)
14200 Green Timbers Way, Surrey, B.C. V3T 6P3
Office: 778-290-4724
Fax: 778-290-6092

Email: bcfederalpolicing_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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