1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Sister-in-Law caught in Romance Money Mule Scam

Discussion in 'Consumer Fraud & Scams' started by ishamaus, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. ishamaus

    ishamaus Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Ohio
    Sadly, my sister-in-law found herself in the middle of a money mule scam stemming from marital issues within this past year. She was very emotionally vulnerable and crossed paths with a scammer online who claimed to be stationed with the US military. Chris Dickson was the name given. He said all of the right things, and then eventually asked her to help him set up a "business". Several months later she had accumulated about $120,000 in transactions performed, still believing they were legitimate, and that "Chris Dickson" was a real person. He even promised to visit her this summer and eventually adopt her kids! She took this hook, line, and sinker :(

    My wife and I contacted the local FBI field office back in April, and they recommended we complete an online form for victims of internet crimes on her sister's behalf. We did that primarily for her protection. Sadly, her sister had trouble letting go of this imagined relationship, even believing everything was still fine after we warned her repeatedly to cut all communication and close the bank account. Her husband only became aware of her activities after she was forced to share some details with friends of ours. She needed to borrow a few thousand, perhaps to send to this Mr. Dickson. My wife found out, and had to share with the husband, given that not only was this adultery, but also involved illegal activity. Of course, her sister became quite upset, and even now refuses to take any action to resolve the issue. The marriage is heading for an almost sure divorce. Very sad.

    They had submitted a case with the local bank through which the transactions were made, though were notified that the amounts were reported to the IRS, with estimated taxes around $30,000. To make things worse, they received a certified letter days ago from the same bank, demanding the return of $48,000. I'm not sure what this particular amount relates to, or why the bank would be demanding money back (as I thought they were simply the transit point of funds from Mr. Dickson that were to be forwarded on to other financial institutions).

    The husband is quite upset, as you can imagine. He has not been able to speak any sense into his likely soon-to-be ex-wife. She simply tells him that she'll take care of everything, though with no real resources of her own we wonder how. I did encourage him to reach out to the bank, the IRS, and some local attorneys for guidance for his own peace of mind. With regards to the impending IRS taxes, would there be anything to gain from reporting details of the scam to the IRS? Is it possible the amount could be reduced, given she was victimized? Also, with regards to the bank requesting a return of $48,000, does she have any recourse in this? Lastly, is the husband partially responsible for any financial restitution to the bank or IRS, even if he was completely unaware of these activities? The bank account she opened was under her name and information only. He has concerns of her being charged with a crime and spending time in jail though, again, she believed the transactions were part of a legitimate business.

    I apologize for the length of this, and I'm not entirely sure what kinds of information and questions I can post. I'd be grateful for any input. Thank you!
     
  2. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,032
    Likes Received:
    496
    Trophy Points:
    83
    It is virtually impossible to answer your questions as you don't know what exactly she did or even that she was scammed. She willingly turned over a whole lot of money to some dude without discussing it with her husband. That is legal and a private marital issue for the two of them to work out. It is unclear why you are involved.

    We have no idea why the bank wants money back, therefore it is impossible to say whether or not this being part of some kind of FBI acknowledged scam, as opposed to just plain old poor judgement, would be a mitigating factor.
     
  3. ishamaus

    ishamaus Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks for the attempt to answer :( By the way, I am involved because this is my family and I care about them. I was hoping to help guide them. I am sorry if you don't understand that.
     
  4. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,032
    Likes Received:
    496
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Legally, there isn't anything you CAN do. Be supportive if any of them want to talk or a shoulder to cry on, but you can not act on their behalf and really, really should not be spreading their story online (particularly if your SIL is prone to poor choices) and you don't have anywhere near enough details to obtain sound advice for them. The devil is in the details and those details are best left off line and protected by attorney client privilege, if and only if your SIL chooses for herself to share them with an attorney.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,844
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    Trophy Points:
    113


    The woman should start by filing an official report with her local police and/or sheriff's agency.

    Once she starts that process, the police detective or sheriff detective will guide her.

    Frankly these crimes happen everyday, and there are many variations on the theme, most dealing with greed or the prospect of love.

    I wish you and you family the best.
     

Share This Page