By any other name, it’s still money laundering by Menglei Import & Export

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

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.”


1 Comment

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One response to “By any other name, it’s still money laundering by Menglei Import & Export

  1. Mark Burrows

    Clue number one that would have sent that to the junk mail is claiming to be established since 2004. That is only nine years! Generally a company would not make such an establishment claim until after twenty five years, traditionally marking a quarter of a century.
    There are plenty of shady operations that have lasted ten to fifteen years before they got their teeth pulled. Some of course have been around for many decades, but although they are shady, they are actually reputable, well known, and give you something for your money even it is over priced junk. You know, such as Publisher Clearing House that amazingly enough once or twice a year actually offer magazines and other published material while the rest of the time they are plying you with gadgets that they offer you multiple payment to pay for, but it you take those glossy little sheets, you could easily buy 90% of the items at your favorite dollar store.
    Being the research hound I am, I did that very thing, I bought 20 items at the the dollar store that matched 20 items from a PCH packet. Then I went home and totaled up the amounts which oddly came out as an average of $24.95, so the grand total to PCH would be $499.00 of somewhat useful or decorative things, and that is NOT including shipping and handling which is on top of that. Do not believe that for one moment that it will be shipped all at one time. Shipping and handling is a creative fee, there are no standards or rules. You can yell all you wish that you know what the actual cost of sending packages via various degrees of postal and shipping options, They will tell you that it is a matter of the costs of shipping materials, packing materials, shipping containers, and the cost of maintaining a large staff to keep up with the high demand of orders. It all sounds convincing, but shipping and handling charges are padded to pad the pocket profit. The companies that offer free shipping and handling, now those people are on the ball, they are telling you that they are comfortable with their profit margin and are more interested in keeping you as a customer, a happy and loyal one to boot.
    Now, any company that is seeking employees abroad, would never send out a generalized email attempting to hire. They would post on approved hiring sites, of which there are plenty. Craigslist is not an approved hiring site, Craigslist is no different than the old Buy & Sell magazine/paper. Which is always under the clause of sit emptor cavete, which is the proper Latin translation of let the buyer beware. So, the same thing applies to anything to comes addressed to you through your postal service and your email.
    If you did not show previous interest, do not recognize the person, persons, or company addressing you, or are being offered sizable amounts of money for little to next to no work, then you are being targeted for a scam. You are an intended victim.

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