announced the arrest of 168 people under the 
European Money Mule Action ‘EMMA 4′, a massive operation that resulted in the identification of 1,504 money mules. 

Europol announced that 168 people have been arrested under the ‘EMMA 4’, an international operation conducted by law enforcement. EMMA 4 lasted from September to November 2018. Law enforcement in 30 states 140 money mule organizers. 

Europol opened 837 criminal investigations, many of which are still ongoing, law enforcement arrested people in 20 states, 
The operation sees the participation of Europol, Eurojust, the European Banking Federation, and law enforcement from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Moldova, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The operation aimed at dismantling money laundering activities, in particular tackling ‘money mules’ rings that have e crucial role in the criminal activity. Global and European provided an essential support to the EMMA 4, Europol reported the participation of over 300 , 20 bank associations, and other financial institutions. The financial organization helped reporting,376 fraudulent money mule transactions, preventing a total loss of €36.1 million ($41.1 million). 

Money mules are essential for cash out of criminal activities and transfer stolen funds between accounts used to launder the money.

“Money mules are individuals who, often unwittingly, have been recruited by criminal organisations as money laundering agents to hide the origin of ill-gotten money.” reads the press release published by Europol.

“Tricked by the promise of easy money, mules transfer stolen funds between accounts, often in different States, on behalf of others and are usually offered a share of the funds that pass through their own accounts.”

Criminal organizations use to choose money moles among newcomers to a country or people who are unemployed or in economic distress. Unfortunately, the number of young people recruited as money mules is increasing, criminals are reaching them through social media, advertisement of fake jobs or get-rich-quick posts.

Youngsters have no perception of the crime they are carrying out transferring funds from an account to another.

“To raise awareness of this type of fraud, the money muling awareness campaign #DontBeAMule kicks off today across Europe. With awareness-raising material, available for download in 25 languages, the campaign will inform the public about how these criminals operate, how they can protect themselves and what to do if they become a .” concludes the press release.

“For the next week, international partners from law enforcement and judicial authorities, together with financial institutions, will be supporting the campaign at national level.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –money mules, EMMA 4)

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