That is the latest problem that parents are facing according to authorities. It seems that street gangs just have too much money and no place to put it or launder it, so they are enlisting the aid of thousands of children and teenagers. Some gangs have recruited children as young as 8 years old to spend their money and bring back the proceeds to gang leaders.
Police say gangs such as MS-13 recruit minors to hide or launder stolen money in their bank accounts. In a story carried by the The Times, law enforcement officials are asking parents to monitor their children’s savings and spending habits after an investigation revealed that the number of children being used as “money mules” by thugs and gangsters nearly doubled in a year.
In Britain, The Metropolitan Police, has determined this has become such a problem, they are sending warnings to parents via schools across London telling them that their children are being targeted outside the school gates and on social media to launder cash for criminals.
Usually, the children are offered cash to “help” someone transfer money from one account to another. The children may be given as little as $50 dollars for transferring much larger sums of “Dirty Money” through their bank accounts. Then the child’s account is used to distribute the cash to other people in the criminal enterprise. This makes the money harder for police to track. Officers say that if the child is not willing to do the gang a “favor” they are sometimes threatened with violence if they did not comply.
The police are reminding parents that they should monitor any financial transactions their children make and if something seems not right or large amounts of money show up in their accounts, they should notify police. Laws across jurisdictions vary, but your child could face charges under federal RICO laws for assisting a criminal gang launder money.
So far this year, in London alone, there has been a huge increase in the number of such cases over last year’s 2,143 cases. In just the first six months of this year, police have uncovered 4,222 incidents involving a person under 21 assisting criminals to launder money. If you believe you child may have been recruited to this criminal activity, you are urged to contact your local police agency at once.