Money Mule Scam
This is where a victim may be offered a job, told they won a prize, or start an online relationship (ie: romance scam). The scammer advises the victim they want to send them money and asks that the victim send monies to someone else. The victim is often advised to wire money or purchase gift cards.
The scammer may send a check to the victim for deposit and then ask money to be wired or transferred. Although the check might clear initially, the bank will likely determine the check was counterfeit or altered. The victim who deposited the check may be liable to repay the bank the funds they had deposited and subsequently withdrew/transferred.
There is no job, prize, or real relationship – only a scam. The scammer was trying to get the victim to be what some people call a “money mule.”
Subjects who willingly, or continually, receive proceeds which they know are derived from unlawful activity may be charged with Money Laundering pursuant to Wisconsin State Statute 943.895:
943.895 Money laundering
(1) Definitions. In this section:
(a) “Proceeds” means property or anything of value acquired or derived directly or indirectly from, produced through, realized through, or caused by an act or omission.
(b) “Transaction” has the meaning given in s. 946.79 (1) (f).
(2) Prohibited conduct.
(a) Whoever does any of the following may be penalized as provided in sub. (3):
1. Knowingly receives or acquires proceeds that the person knows are derived from unlawful activity or conducts a transaction involving proceeds that the person knows are derived from unlawful activity.
2. Knowingly directs, plans, organizes, initiates, finances, manages, supervises, or facilitates the transportation or transfer of proceeds that the person knows are derived from unlawful activity.
3. Knowingly gives, sells, transfers, trades, invests, conceals, transports, or otherwise makes available proceeds that the person knows are intended to be used for the purpose of committing or furthering the commission of unlawful activity.
4. Knowingly conducts a transaction that involves proceeds that the person knows are derived from unlawful activity that is designed in whole or in part to do one of the following:
a. Conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds obtained through unlawful activity.
b. Avoid a transaction reporting requirement under federal law.
(b) For the purposes of par. (a), knowledge that the proceeds are derived from unlawful activity does not require knowledge of the specific nature of the unlawful activity involved.
(c) In any case involving more than one violation of par. (a), all such violations may be prosecuted as a single crime if the violations were pursuant to a single intent and design.
(3) Penalties. A person who violates sub. (2) (a) is guilty of the following:
(a) If the total value of the proceeds involved in the transaction does not exceed $2,500, a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) If the total value of the proceeds involved in the transaction exceeds $2,500 but does not exceed $5,000, a Class I felony.
(c) If the total value of the proceeds involved in the transaction exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $10,000, a Class H felony.
(d) If the total value of the proceeds involved in the transaction exceeds $10,000 but does not exceed $100,000, a Class G felony.
(e) If the total value of the proceeds involved in the transaction exceeds $100,000, a Class F felony.