A suspected money mule is being quizzed about storing around €4,000 in his bank account which had been stolen by a gang in a €1.1m invoice redirect fraud.
The teenager is the fifth suspect to be arrested as part of a massive investigation into the fraud from a solicitor’s firm in the capital last November.
He was arrested in Dublin this morning and is being questioned by fraud squad detectives at Kevin Street Garda Station.
“This individual would not be very high on the food chain in terms of the organised crime organisation involved, but the suspicion is that he allowed his bank account to be used to store the stolen money,” a senior source said.
“The reality is that there was so much money obtained by this gang that it had to be spread around and money mules such as this individual were recruited for this process,” the source added.
While €1.1m was stolen from the legal firm, gardaí managed to recover €1m of the money and have been identifying accounts where the outstanding €100,000 was distributed to.
Sources say that at least a dozen more people are expected to be arrested as part of Operation PARADE which is being run by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).
Earlier this month, a suspect from the Blanchardstown area became the fourth person to be arrested and then released without charge in the investigation, while in April a suspected “low level money mule” was also arrested in Tallaght as part of the same probe.
Two 22-year-old men were previously arrested in March and February as part of the same probe and were released without charge after being questioned separately at Naas and Clondalkin Garda Stations.
The 22-year-old suspect arrested in February is a bank employee from Lucan who is being investigated as a possible “inside man” in the well-planned crime.
The bank employee was released without charge after being questioned at Clondalkin Garda Station but sources say “important evidence” has already been discovered on one mobile device linked to the suspect and officers are now trying to examine another device which may have even more details about the bank employee’s suspected involvement.
Gardaí announced details of the arrest operation this morning.
“Operation PARADE is an investigation being conducted by GNECB into the theft of approximately €1.1m from a Dublin based company in November 2020 in an invoice redirect fraud,” a garda spokesman said.
“The company received an email which they believed to be from a trading company telling them that their bank account was changed and to send the money to a new bank account.
“In this instance, with the co-operation of various banks, approximately €1m of this stolen money was recovered in various other bank accounts,” he added.
Money mule accounts are usually held by unconnected third parties, who are approached by recruiters and asked to allow their accounts be used for a transaction in exchange for a fee of a few hundred euro.
Often the fraudsters use students' and young people's bank account details by offering them a fee to allow use of their accounts for a few days.
Invoice redirection fraud happens when a person or a business falls prey to requests, purporting to emanate from trusted suppliers or service providers, into believing that a beneficiary’s bank account details have been changed.
As a result, funds that are due to be paid out are transferred to a fraudulent account.
The GNECB are investigating multiple cases of this type of fraud on a daily basis.