Tag Archive: Financial crime

Financial Crime & ‘Money Muling’ – How To Avoid Becoming A Target

“Ignorantia legis neminem excusat”-  A classic Latin Legal principle which means “ignorance of law excuses no one”

Fraud is fraud – So we’re taught.

Lately i’ve have been reading a series of articles and research publications on matters relating to the ever rising cases of financial crime. To be honest, these days it’s hard to look away and simply pretend nothing is wrong. Everything about financial crime is wrong. And it is a global concern. It’s not only wrecking and damaging economies, but also has a direct and harmful corrosive effect on people’s lives.

On this blog post, i intend to focus on a particular issue – Money Laundering. You’ve definitely come across a variety of personal stories, news articles, publications, podcasts, or so, where one or more controversial areas of money laundering are adressed. Money laundering and the environments of illicit financial flows are both prompting a great deal of discussions internationally.

So, what is Money Laundering? The International Compliance Association (ICA) describes Money Laundering as a “process by which criminals disguise the original ownership and control of the proceeds of criminal conduct by making such proceeds appear to have derived from a legitimate source.” (Read more)

And, how are ‘Money mules’ and ‘Money Laundering’ connected?- We’ll get to that in a few seconds.

First of all, there are a number ways this kind of financial crime can occur. The most common and obvious types of money laundering activities include Tax evasion and false accounting practices. How does that happen? The simple answer- The process of money laundering is said to be quite complex. (Read more) 

According to an Europol article –MONEY MULING -Public awareness and prevention -“More than 90% of money mule transactions are linked to cybercrime. The illegally obtained money often comes from phishing, malware attacks, online auction fraud, e-commerce fraud, business e-mail compromise (bec) and CEO fraud, romance scams and holiday fraud (booking fraud) and many others.” (Read on)

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), defines “Money Mules” as – “people who are used to transport and launder stolen money or some kind of merchandise.” In addition, criminals may even recruit ‘willing participants’ who by the way, may not even have the slightest hint that they are being used to commit fraud.

In fact, with today’s economic conditions, becoming a victim of money mule scams can be quite easy. Consider a common scenario you’ve probably seen like the “Work from home opportunities.” I can’t tell you enough how many times i’ve seen people in desperate situations looking for these kinds of opportunities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the idea of earning money from the comfort of your own home as long as it is legitimate.

But if the ‘deal is too good’ and you probably ‘smell a rat’ then it’s high time to be on your guard.

To get some perspective on the scale of the problem, there’s an article on published Moneymules.co.uk  which also explains how the money mules process works. Basically, the fraudsters may approach individuals anywhere. This could be online or even  on the streets where they ask their victims to receive money into their banks accounts and transfer it to another account keeping some of the cash for themselves. – Doing this means that you’re a money mule and you’re involved in money laundering.

Another scenario-What would you do if you were targeted by someone who poses like an Army Captain? Or even a police officer? On an article published on abc, an FBI tells of a story of a fraudster who actually posed as an Army Captain. He informed his victim that he was trying to make arrangements to travel home. Long story short, the victim received  $10,000 in his bank account. He was then instructed to ‘withdraw it in small increments’ and send it to a woman in Texas. (Read on)

Now we see why there’s high importance in being vigilant. As part of being aware, we should be keen to understand what the source of funds are, and the purpose of a retainer.

Here’s a short clip from CIFAS revealing some of the reasons why criminals need Money Mules

Here are more links to help you learn more about ‘money muling’

Monday Readings// Doctors Without Borders, Banking culture, Networking, and More…

“What about Monday? That could be our one day we look at things the same way, and wear funny shoes.”
― Kevin Dalton

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Doctors without borders in war zones

We all know that various parts of our world, are in a terrible condition. There are ongoing wars, diseases, natural disasters, famine, severely malnourished children, etc. Doctors without borders have been actively participating to help, at least where help is needed the most. But in Syria, things are getting out of control. Hospitals have been attacked and hospital staff members have been killed, to say the least. On Spiegel Online, there’s an interesting story about Dr. Muhamed, who helped a woman deliver a baby, in a war zone in southern Syria, shortly before his hospital was laid in ruins. Read all about it here.

How to become a master in networking

You’ve probably heard this before; ‘ Everything is about networking.’ Yes, I’ve heard that too. Having a good network may help you land that dream job, great deal, funding, great business partners, etc. But the truth is, many of us have difficulties when it comes to networking. We probably easily panic and shy away, and end up missing out on great opportunities. Learn the ways in which you can become a master networker here

So what’s so bad about the banking culture, which allows financial crimes like insider dealing?

Remember the story about Kweku Adoboli  who faced charges of false accounting and fraud and cost Swiss bank UBS almost £1.5 bn? Allow me to refresh your memory.

On BBC, Mr. Adoboli talked about the importance of changing the culture of the banking industry. In his case, he claims that senior bankers placed a huge amount of pressure on him to generate bigger profits by taking greater risks. He also claims the situation hasn’t changed at all and that other young bankers still face that same pressure. But is that a reason to engage in financial criminal activities?  Well guess what? Even students working as interns are not exempted from these rules-See Matthew Uberoi’s story. It’s that serious.

Do you think  what Mr- Adoboli dis makes him a criminal? Do you think what he did was a crime?

Those are the similar questions he was asked at the interview. And, surprisingly (or not) Mr. Adoboli  doesn’t think he is a criminal. In fact, he says that’s only a ‘label.’

Ahem!  In law school, i remember studying this area of financial market abuse in depth. In fact my LLM dissertation focused on the effectiveness of  the Insider dealing regulations in the UK and EU. And one thing i can recall from my findings was that; the regulation of insider dealing and other market abuse related crimes, is a huge and complex area, with endless debates. Some don’t even think it’s a crime and argue this area should not be regulated at all. (To understand what i mean, you may want to begin here- with what Professor Henry G. Manne had to say . And yes, as you may think, he had both his supporters and opposers)

From Mr. Adoboli’s response, i am not surprised at all that he still doesn’t think what he did was a crime. Like many others, I would guess  that what he believed was that – It’s only a harmless white- collar crime. (The term was coined by Edwin Sutherland in 1939). From my  research findings and observations, especially from an ethical and legal perspective (which i will discuss another day), financial market abuse related activities are serious crimes.

You can see Kweku Adoboli’s interview in full  on BBC here or here 

Time to end the  9-to-5 workday?

Many are looking for a career that offers job flexibility these days. Either work from home or show up at your own convenient time, and still get that big fat pay check! Sounds awesome, right? Well, here’s the  news- Flexibility, scares some employers! However, that shouldn’t be the case. In fact according to studies, flexibility may have a positive effect on employees’ overall well-being, their productivity and quality of work. Read all about it here

Shoppable runway shows – How successful is the ‘see now-buy now’ sales strategy?

I’ve spent time watching runway shows and obsessing over some beautiful pieces, i felt i couldn’t live without. You know the kind of  ‘I want it now’ feeling? The good news is that some brands, including high fashion brands, have thankfully began to make that possible. They now enable customers to shop their collections immediately after they debut on the catwalk.But how successful are they?  Read all about it here on the Business of Fashion.

Follow the Yellow brick road to the House of GUCCI!

Gucci is the real talk right now! And we all know who the genius behind it all is- The one and only Alessandro Michele, the new creative director of Gucci. According to Vogue, he is the most influential man in fashion. I absolutely agree! I will never forget his historic catwalk at Westminster Abbey this year in June. It was magical! (You can watch the fashion show here, just to understand my obsession!).

The magical Gucci girl for ‘next season’ SS17 was well presented at the Milan Fashion week recently, and all i could think of is, how Gucciland is fascinating! You can see for yourself the latest fashion show at the Milan fashion week here and the spectacular photos right here. Besides Gucci,  Vogue also named a few other high fashion brands who made it to the top ‘Collections of Milan Fashion Week.’