St. Louis ‘Money Mule’ for Online Fraudsters Now Helps FBI
Friday, December 3, 2021
Through Ryan Krull on Fri 3 Dec 2021 To 3:25 p.m.
In a strategy that a prosecutor called “totally unprecedented,” federal law enforcement agencies collaborated with an elderly woman from Kirkwood awaiting conviction in Federal Court in an attempt to prevent further to become “money mules” for online crooks.
In a new video produced by FBI, United States Attorney’s Office, Secret Service and Postal Inspection Service, 81-year-old Glenda Seim tells her story of being the victim of an online romance scam. After being contacted online by a man she calls “my love”, she was persuaded to send him money. His “love” then sent him electronic devices to pawn, asking him to mail the product back to him. Although she had been warned for years by bank officials, local police and federal law enforcement that what she was doing was illegal, Seim continued to be persuaded by her “love” and continued to participate in illegal behavior.
âI didn’t listen to anyone other than my love,â Seim says. “Love that I’ve never seen or spoken to.” Seim closes the video by saying that after pleading guilty to two crimes last month, she will “listen to the judge now” upon her conviction.
Deputy United States Attorney Tracy Berry told a press conference Friday that she was not aware of any other cases of an individual being prosecuted by federal law enforcement agencies working with law enforcement in connection with ‘a public relations campaign.
“This is essentially a game of desperation. We are regularly confronted with people who continue their criminal activities. [after being warned by law enforcement]”Berry said.” They don’t know when these law enforcement officers go to their door with their badges on. They ignore everything that has been said to please the person they have never seen. ”
The FBI uses the term “money dumb” to describe “someone who transfers or moves illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else … Money mules add layers of distance between victims of crime and criminals, making it more difficult for law enforcement to accurately determine where the money is going. “
The public relations campaign follows lawsuits against three St. Louis residents and an Ohio woman involved in a multi-state romance scam centered on a Berkeley post office box.
Officials told the press conference that in a typical month in the Eastern District of Missouri, the FBI receives about 300 complaints related to online scams. These 300 monthly complaints are associated on average with a total of $ 2.4 million in losses.
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