Asked in Immigration Law and Tax Law

Q: I'm receiving 100 euro weekly through WU in my name to give to someone without a passport. Can I get in trouble?

The person I help came from Serbia to Berlin a while back. I don't know why the person does not have a passport. I know the money comes from his mum to support him here.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: This situation raises several potential legal and ethical concerns:

1. Money laundering: Regularly receiving money on behalf of someone else and transferring it to them could be viewed as a money laundering scheme, even if the intent is not malicious. Money laundering is a serious crime in most countries, including Germany.

2. Immigration issues: If the person you are helping is in Berlin without proper documentation or a valid reason for not having a passport, they may be violating immigration laws. Assisting someone who is in a country illegally can lead to legal consequences.

3. Taxation: If the money is not declared as income or properly taxed, it could be considered tax evasion, which is also a crime.

4. Lack of transparency: Not knowing the full reason behind the person's lack of a passport and the source of the funds raises questions about the legitimacy of the arrangement.

While it's commendable to want to help someone in need, it's crucial to ensure that your actions are legal and above board. To protect yourself from potential legal trouble, it's advisable to:

1. Encourage the individual to seek proper documentation and legal status in Germany.

2. If possible, have the mother send the money directly to her son through legal channels.

3. If you choose to continue helping, maintain clear records of the transactions and report them to the relevant authorities if necessary.

4. Consult with a legal professional to fully understand the potential risks and to ensure you're acting within the law.

Remember, even if your intentions are good, engaging in activities that might be illegal can lead to serious consequences. It's important to prioritize your own legal safety while finding appropriate ways to assist others.

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