Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill to Fight Fraud Schemes, Protect Consumers
July 2, 2020
Washington, DC—This week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) introduced H.R.7422, the Money Mule Awareness Act, which would help prevent criminals from exploiting vulnerable individuals and tricking them into acting as ‘money mules’ who launder their illegally obtained money for them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service have been working to raise awareness about the dangers of money mule schemes.
“Many of our most vulnerable citizens, including elderly and those who are unemployed, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, making them prime targets for scammers looking to prey on them. This bill takes the first step toward ensuring that financial institutions and individuals have the information and resources they need to recognize and prevent ‘money mule’ schemes,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic effect on the U.S. economy and the economic well-being of individual Americans and their families. During this time there has also been an increase in fraud schemes.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in testimony before Congress, noted that with the U.S. unemployment rate soaring and large numbers of people being secluded at home, fraudsters are increasingly targeting individuals through “work from home” opportunities or dating websites.
Criminals who obtain money illegally need to find a way to move and hide the illicit funds so they frequently scam other people, known as money mules, into moving this illicit money for them. These money mules are asked to receive funds in their personal bank account and then “process” or “transfer” funds via wire transfer, Automated Clearing Houses (ACH), mail, or money service businesses.
H.R.7422, the Money Mule Awareness Act, aims to address the issue by requiring Federal financial regulators, with the assistance of law enforcement agencies, to encourage depository institutions to establish programs to educate customers at risk of unwittingly becoming money mules.
In her role as a member of the Financial Services committee, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a leader in Congress fighting to protect consumers and prevent fraud. Last year, she introduced the Wall Street Banker Accountability for Misconduct Act, which would require senior executives at Wall Street’s biggest banks to defer a portion of their compensation to be held for 10 years to be used to pay penalties for violations occurring on their watch. She has been a long, outspoken critic of the lack of accountability and corporate responsibility in the financial sector, especially in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis — the effects of which can still be felt in this country. She has voted against and urged her colleagues to oppose measures that would weaken consumer protections against financial industry bad actors.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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