The Chinese Company in Zhejiang Province provides home textiles, toys, and stationery and is a well established business having been founded in 2004.
While being established in China, Menglei Import & Export Co., Ltd. operates in the United States with several supply lines to customers in various locations.
“We are interested in employing your services to work with us as a private payment agent that can help us establish a medium of receiving payment for goods that was supplied to our customers in your location, “ says Mrs. Shaha Yang, public relations director.
The company is experiencing difficulties in receiving payments from its customers stateside, and needs to clear up some deposits with a local company. The customers pay in checks and money orders.
Yang says the company needs someone to handle business transactions, receive goods for import and freight forwarding services. To be hired, you need to give out the name, address, company name, annual income, and a form of identification… personal identity?
The invitation came through the email. The computer address was from Menglei Import & Export Co., Ltd., but the IP address is registered to a computer in Nigeria.
Money laundering and by any other business name is illegal. Business transactions and freight forwarding are all red flags of a shell company. This is one of the most common money laundering schemes.
The shell company or business, deposits checks and forwards money to another site. Businesses that offer services instead of selling physical goods may be able to get around the need to offer receipts or reports of money gained and spent. The business would typically be one in which accepting cash as a form of payment is not uncommon. Examples may include mechanics, landscapers, or hairstylist.
Instead of creating a shell company, an alternative for money laundering may be to invest in a legitimate business, such as a casino or bar. The launderer can combine illicit funds with income from the business or use the company’s bank accounts to hide the funds.
Another method of money laundering involves making steady, consistent, legitimate deposits at a bank before the real laundering occurs. This helps to set up a track record for the person or business, so that when a similar amount of illicit funds are deposited, no suspicion is aroused.
Counterfeit check scams are sweeping the country and the number of incidents reported has increased sharply.
Unfortunately, the advent of high quality printers and scanners is making it easier for criminals to counterfeit these checks. As a result, what may seem to be an official check drawn on a legitimate financial institution or company may not be worth the paper it is printed on. The companies are victims of scammers stealing their identity as part of the scheme to mislead consumers.
A problem can occur when a consumer deposits the counterfeit check in a bank account and, a few days later, asks the financial institution if the money is “available.” A consumer should still be very careful about withdrawing money when told the funds are “available.” The better course is to wait until the financial institution can confirm the funds have been “finally collected.”