30 people have been arrested so far as part of An Garda Síochána’s Operation Ransom where €1.5 million has been stolen from bank accounts.
Operation Ransom is an investigation into persons allowing their bank accounts being used for organised crime groups to withdraw and deposit money which was stolen from other bank accounts.
Gardai say that criminal gangs are targeting teenagers and using them as ‘money mules’ to launder cash.
An Garda Síochána are appealing to the public, particularly students and younger people, to never authorise any individuals or groups to utilise their bank account, ATM card, or pin number, advising that there are consequences including arrests, charges and convictions for persons acting as money mules for organised crime groups.
Young persons are being targeted by organised crime groups in secondary schools, college, online, and via social media.
Most people are advised they will receive a percentage if they authorise the use of the account and see the chance to make easy and quick money.
In many instances, the organised crime group will clear the person’s account once the ATM card or pin number has been handed over and there is no monetary gain for the money mule.
In addition to this, the money mule is aiding international organised criminal groups and enhancing their capability to make money.
This action is financing drug and people smuggling, terrorism and prostitution, among many other offences.
An Garda Síochána are advising parents to educate young persons on the dangers of acting as money mules.
Of the 30 people arrested, 18 are men, 12 are women and the persons are located all over Ireland. The youngest person was 15 and the oldest was 38.
Over half (16) of the people arrested were juveniles with more arrests are expected.