Boulder, CO asked in Banking for Colorado

Q: Is it illegal to wire money to someone if you think, but don't know that it is coming from an illegal source?

I applied for internships online, and was emailing back and forth with a man who I thought was an actual business owner. However, his business is not real and he mailed me a check for a sum of money and told me to keep part of it and wire the rest to someone else. Obviously this is an extremely sketchy scenario, but am I doing anything illegal if I go through with it not knowing where the money is coming from, or what it is being used for?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
  • Business Law Lawyer
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: This type of transaction is a classic deposit scam technique. See below.

Payment processing: A variation on the deposit scam is the payment processing scam. You’ll think you got a work-from-home job depositing payments or mystery shopping, and your job is to accept money and forward the payments. In some cases, you’re actually helping criminals launder money while you get ripped off. (source:

As for the criminality, you do not have to have direct knowledge of a crime to be a co-conspirator or accessory to another person's crime.

It is your decision and Justia's Q&A cannot provide direct advice. I will end on a question: how often in normal, above-board situations do strangers offer free money?

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