It seems that not only is the number of fraud victims growing in California and beyond, but investigators are building cases that are more sophisticated, elaborate and often involve many more people. The use of technology to contact unsuspecting victims includes stealing their identity or hacking their contacts to fool them into thinking they are receiving correspondence from someone they know. In this way, the victims become part of white collar crimes and may even become suspects in FBI investigations.
Fraudsters use unwitting victims called mules in money laundering schemes. There are many methods, but in general, the schemes involve the mule allowing the fraudsters to transfer large amounts of money into his or her account, then sending small increments over time to a third account. The fraudsters may pose as a business associate asking for payment, an online acquaintance or a family member in need of money. They may offer the mule a percentage of the money in exchange for his or her help.
In some cases, the mule is complicit in the crime. However, many mules are unaware of the scope of the crime in which they are involved. Some of these schemes involve hundreds of thousands of dollars transferred from multiple continents. When state or federal authorities begin investigating, a mule may become a target.
Money laundering schemes are typically complicated, occurring over periods of time. Investigations may be underway for months before the subject realizes California authorities plan to make an arrest. As soon as one learns he or she is under suspicion for involvement in white collar crimes, it is wise to seek legal counsel from an attorney with experience in complex legal defense.