Be aware! Allowing proceeds of crime to be laundered through your Bank account, knowingly or unknowingly, is a criminal offence. Bank clients can be charged and convicted for money laundering and even receive a prison sentence.
Criminals approach bank customers with requests to have funds paid into their accounts and often offer them a reward for the use of the account. Often the money that is paid into the account is proceeds of another crime. The account holder can be charged with money laundering even if it was unknown at the time that the money was proceeds of crime.
An example of the above modus operandi is where the criminal informs the account holder of the sale of a motor vehicle and instructs the buyer to specifically pay into an account with a particular Bank (the same Bank as the one that the victim banks with) so that the funds can be cleared faster. Because the “seller” needs to the money urgently, the use of the victim’s account is requested and the victim is promised a reward for the favour. To most people, the explanation given appears to make sense, and the promised reward serves as a motivation, making them likely to assist especially if the “seller” is known to them.
Criminals also approach people with valid identification documents and ask them to open accounts for them to transact on because they do not have the correct documentation to qualify for an account. Because foreign nationals experience such difficulties and people want to be neighbourly, many people have been tricked into opening accounts that are subsequently used by criminals to launder money.
- Do not open a Bank account in your name on behalf of another person, irrespective of the circumstances.
- Do not allow your account to be used by another person to deposit or transact on.
- If you suspect that the money you are being paid with is the proceeds of crime; immediately report this matter to the police.