14 Jun 2021
Employees at three major financial institutions are under investigation over suspected links to crime gangs involved in cyber frauds and money laundering.
The three young adults — a woman and two men — separately came to the attention of gardaí investigating the rising phenomenon of online frauds and scams. The three are unconnected, but all have third-level qualifications and are currently working as junior employees in three different financial institutions, say sources close to the investigation.
One of the three came to the attention of gardaí as a suspected ‘money mule’ — someone who allows criminals to use their bank account to store money for cash.
A second bank employee came on the garda radar during an investigation into an invoice redirect fraud — a scam in which businesses are tricked into transferring funds into bank accounts controlled by criminals.
A third remains under investigation for suspicious activity.
All three would have access to sensitive customer data, but garda sources say it is not known whether any confidential information was actually shared.
The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) suspects the cases follow an emerging pattern in economic crime — in which well-educated young people, with no criminal records, are being targeted or deliberately “planted” in jobs that give them access to confidential customer data.
This data can then be either exploited or sold on the black market to facilitate online frauds.
As well as the bank workers, gardaí are also currently investigating three employees of large IT companies.
One of the three employees — a suspected money mule — works for an international tech firm in Dublin and has a qualification in cyber security. Gardaí discovered the employee’s bank account details during a search of the home of a suspected money mule recruiter.
“You would have to suspect there is a pattern,” said one senior source.
The practice of criminal groupings using “plants” came to police notice over the last two years. One former bank employee has been convicted in relation to these scams.
Tomi Jinad, a 24-year-old customer service representative with KBC Bank in south Dublin, received a suspended sentence last year after he was caught facilitating online frauds. Jinad deactivated a security feature on 26 customer bank accounts which removed the need for an authorisation code.
He passed on the account details to people he did not identify. This resulted in more than 100 fraudulent transactions on those customer accounts, ranging from €100 to €500. The customers were reimbursed by KBC.
By Maeve Sheehan, The Irish Independent, 13 June 2021
Read more at The Irish Independent
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