I have written before about money laundering staying in the family but it is usually only the adults who are involved. A recent Finnish case has trodden new ground, with the conviction of a young man – sixteen at the time of the offending – for fraud, and of his parents for laundering some of the proceeds of their son’s naughtiness. I’m not a parent myself but am told that those who are will do anything for their children, and I suppose this demonstrates it.
In short, this lad was sitting in his bedroom in Forssa when he uncovered an IT glitch in the systems of an online casino in Malta. He signed up using a false date of birth and took advantage of the fact that the casino gave its players the option of cancelling a previously-requested refund of their funds – meaning that the refund would appear twice (in the player’s online wallet at the casino, and in his bank account). He did this neat wheeze 417 times between April and May 2017, until a casino employee noticed it in July 2017 – by which time the lad had diddled the place out of more than 100,000 euros. He was found guilty of fraud as a minor and given a suspended prison sentence of one year and eight months. At some point I assume his own bank started asking questions about his generous pocket money, and he turned – literally – to the bank of mum and dad (or, in Finland, äiti ja isä). And dad obligingly paid 14,500 euros into his own account, while mum spent 5,000 euros on a motorbike – they both received suspended prison sentences.
So what is the AML lesson from all of this? Keep an eye on your younger customers – they’re obviously just as devious and dodgy as the grown-ups. (Seriously, did that bank not notice a teenager getting more than a hundred bank transfers from an online casino in Malta?)