Gangs have been cloaking emails from legitimate companies convincing target companies to change their supplier’s bank details so that money was sent to fraudulent accounts.
Money Laundering and Financial Intelligence unit’s officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau recovered €6 million in Hong Kong in an ‘invoice redirect fraud’ scam that targeted local firms.
This type of CEO fraud costs the global economy about €2.3 billion yearly and Irish firms have already lost €30million this year. Gardai recovered €300,000 in a scam involving a local firm and €120,000 was recovered for another businessman. In another case in 2017, €2.8 million was saved just before it was about to be sent to Italy. Among the leading Irish organisations being targeted in the scams are Dublin Zoo, Trinity College and Meath County Council.
According to Det Supt Alf Martyn from the Garda Money Laundering Unit, “We need to be vigilant and all businesses need to be aware of the risks of this type of crime…Money laundering is a complex crime and the launderers don’t care who they’re taking the money from. If people are suspicious over a transaction they should just pick up the phone and make inquiries.”
Officers also work with detectives tasked with finding cash that has been hidden by the Kinahan cartel and other mobs.
A large conference that was held by Compliance Ireland in Dublin on Wednesday focused on money laundering. Det Chief Supt Lordan urged financial institutions to become more aware of the origins of the money coming into their accounts. It was revealed that crime gangs are still smuggling cash bundles out of Ireland through its ports and airports.