For the past few months, someone that I know casually is sending money to the Philippines every 2 to 3 days. He mentioned that the money is going to his family so that they can use it to travel to United States. So far, no one has come to United States. He mentioned that he couldn’t send the money because he had met the maximum amount of money that can be sent.

He puts the MoneyGram form in my name, hands me the money and I go to the counter. I have noticed that he uses two or three names on the form to collect it. For the first few times that I did this, I thought that this was OK. By now, I have probably done this 30 to 40 times. My issue is that it's my name on the MoneyGram form as the sender.

Does anyone have an idea of what he is doing and why he can’t fulfill this obligation himself?

Will I get in trouble for doing this?

  • 231
    Stop doing this right now. Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 4:58
  • 91
    You went from "maybe the third time" to "30 to 40 times"..? If things seemed shady by the 3rd time, why on Earth would you continue to do it another 27+ times?? Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 14:54
  • 28
    It's worth noting that his explanation does not make any logical sense. MoneyGram's monthly limit is on the order of $3,000. Funds for his family to travel to the US would not require an acquaintance to make 30-40 transfers; no family trip costs that much unless you're booking on the Four Seasons private jet tour. It's a lie. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 0:51
  • 39
    If you just stop participating rather than following the advice to get a lawyer, you may have to pay all that money back, go to jail or both. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 15:13
  • 12
    Usually in these cases, "someone I know casually/friend" turns out to be someone OP only knows entirely from the Internet. And then it turns out OP is the victim of a confidence game: the money they wired is good money, but the check they were paid with bounces. Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 15:25

5 Answers 5

  1. Stop doing this. If your friend contacts you, don't answer until you've followed through on step 2.
  2. Go get a lawyer. They might advise you to contact the police and tell the police what's been going on before you get a knock on the door with a warrant behind it.

Here is why: you are almost certainly inadvertently participating in money laundering. The funds are going through you and being "cleaned".

  • 8
    @everyone We have two. One is called “Add an answer”. The other is called “Edit”. :D
    – Lawrence
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 10:29
  • 90
    Seriously though, OP, do this. Especially the lawyer part - don't go directly to the police - do so with a lawyer's guidance, for your own protection.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 15:12
  • 35
    @Palpus: "The fear factor here is now Will any of it leak back to me In the event something unsavory is taking place?" – Yes, it definitely will! You are the only person that it can leak back to, since you are the only person whose name is on that money. That is the whole point of this exercise: to make sure that your name and only your name is associated with whatever criminal enterprise this money is coming from and/or going to. You are likely laundering money for a criminal enterprise or funding one (or a terrorist group), and you are putting your name on everything. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 15:53
  • 31
    @Palpus - Please take the lawyer advice seriously, and be aware that this is an urgent situation. If you go to the police (with your lawyer, on your lawyer's advice) you're performing a public service: Reporting what is almost certainly a crime, one that you have inadvertently been caught up in. That may be helpful to you, mitigating the negative consequences. If the police come to you (and after all, it's your name on the paperwork), the situation is very, very different. Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 15:33
  • 6
    @Palpus It might be useful to mention why you should do step 2 before answering your friend again - you definitely don't want your "friend" to know that you are onto him, as until that point you have more leverage with law enforcement to cooperate so they can try to catch him (if that is what your lawyer advises, of course!).
    – user12515
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 15:53


There is no limit how much money he can send into the world, so the excuse is BS.

Of course, nobody can say for sure, but the chances are that it is money laundering: Illegally acquired cash is paid in, and the receiver sends it right back as a clean electronic transfer. When the FBI (or the DEA or another alphabet-soup agency) catches up with it, they will knock on your door, your ID will be on the transfers, and you will go to jail for money laundering. Your 'friend' probably has a dozen other friends already doing that for him, and none of them knows his real name.

  • 58
    Yeah, but your answer is missing a crucial part -> the solution.
    – DonQuiKong
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 9:07
  • 4
    @DonQuiKong how so? There were 3 questions: will OP get in trouble, what is the third party doing, why can't the third party do it himself. All three answered above; yes he will get in trouble, the third party is laundering money, and the essential component to money laundering is you don't do things yourself if it draws the authorities' attention to you. Those are the solutions to the questions.
    – tjbp
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 18:46
  • 5
    @tjbp sure, but none of those solves the problem. “Do I have a problem with this?“ “yep, you're screwed“. There's the go to a lawyer asap missing
    – DonQuiKong
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 10:08
  • 5
    The limit is of Money Gram, not everything else. Still BS, I know.
    – Pierre B
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 17:28
  • 4
    @DonQuiKong Where is the question asking for a solution? The title asks what is going on and the last sentence in the body asks if he can get into trouble, but they never ask if there is something he should do to minimize the trouble they could get into. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 22:40

He is doing this so you will go to jail when he finances terror with his money. Or any other unsavoury thing he wants to send money for. Paying for child porn. Laundering money. None of us know, but you'll be the one hanging for it.


@Palpus - While everyone here has (correctly) identified the fact that you are probably involved in money laundering, one thing that has not been provided in the answers so far is a specific response to your "Will I get in trouble for doing this?" part of the question.

The short answer is YES, AND GET A LAWYER NOW!

Besides the fact that you are likely participating (knowingly or not) in a criminal activity, there is the additional issue of tax evasion. Even if you just stop participating you are now logged in MoneyGram's records as having cumulatively "given away" XXX dollars/euros (whatever currency your country uses) and those records will routinely end up in the hands of your tax authorities where they will be considered unreported income that you will owe taxes and penalties on. You could even be charged with a felony depending on how much money in total was involved.

So even if you have already terminated contact with this guy, you MUST get a lawyer NOW and protect yourself from the financial & legal problems that almost certainly will show up eventually as a result of what has been happening.


I want to add to these answers, the concern I have over "someone I know". How well do you know them? If the police or organised crime/FBI style of law enforcement knock on your door, or get involved, you will go a long way to clear yourself of other than claiming personal naivety, if you can identify the "someone". The concern I have is that I don't know, from your question, if you can do so.

Your problem is that there is no trace where the money came from, where it went, or who has it now. A reasonable assumption would be that you signed everything, so an associate of yours has ended up holding it. So suspicion is likely, and your defense will have a high chance of sounding flimsy.

It's a bit underhand but as there seems a very high chance 1) there is serious criminal activity going on, 2) you're being used as a fall guy and set up by this "someone" in it, I would be a bit willing to do the following:

  1. Get the guy's fingerprints on something. A phone you offer them to look at a picture, a glass, a can of soda, whatever it is that you can give him as part of ordinary conversation, that he would take without thinking, then give back or put down, and you can hold without rubbing the new prints.
  2. Get a photo at some time. If it's a criminal matter, you can bet that the moment there's a wisp of any issue, or he pulls out (and you might not know when it happens), he might never be seen again. All you'll have is a story about "someone". A photo will be very useful in worst cases, if you can take one without being seen.

Then, if you contact the police or they knock on your door, or accuse you/hint they think you were a knowing party, you have something concrete to give beyond a vague description.

At which point, now contact a lawyer, who may well then say to go to the police. A lawyer may well be important to ensure you minimise the risk of issues when you do so.

  • 30
    Going to the police without a lawyer is a really bad idea. Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 2:38
  • 27
    Conducting an undercover operation to identify the other party without having the police, a lawyer, a prosecutor, and possibly a backup emergency response team involved even more so. Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 8:26
  • 4
    R - edited last paragraph to reflect this. Lucky to live myself in a country and of a group with privilege, where I automatically take it for granted I can go to the police without a lawyer. I'd overlooked that many don't have that luxury and good fortune, here and elsewhere. A humbling thought. Thank you.
    – Stilez
    Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 8:29
  • 7
    @Stilez I am not sure such a country exists. I live in Sweden, and even here I would certainly not recommend anybody to go to the police in such a matter without legal representation. Even if you live in a country where the police tends to be your friend, you really, really want to be on the safe side when it comes to what could easily be serious criminal allegations.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 7:52
  • 5
    @Stilez Police wouldn't appreciate it at all if you showed up to their precinct saying you've known about criminal activity, but it's ok, because you have a smudged fingerprint on a cup. They will appreciate you saying you went straight to them (with a lawyer) once you identified a crime and that you want to help them. That's the best path towards leniency. Lastly, the path to leniency depends on OP actually being helpful. The police are professionals at making the things OP knows helpful; they are literally the best option available. Why would you possibly suggest another route? Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 14:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .