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A friend of mine says that 4 years ago he invested $500 in bitcoin and now the bitcoin company is paying off $50,000. He wants me to use my bank account to receive the money. He says he needs my routing and account number and for me to take out 35% and send him the rest. Mind you, he doesn't want to go through Western Union or Moneygram or any money transfer companies.

Is this money laundering?

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  • 13
    Is this "friend" someone you know in person? This sounds like a scam.
    – Flux
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 11:56
  • 3
    If he is giving you 35% of money, just for your bank account, it seems fishy. Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 12:14
  • 8
    Why can't he open his own bank account? Run away.
    – chepner
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 12:50
  • 1
    Given Bitcoin prices in 2016 and 2020, I find it highly doubtful such an investment would yield a 100x gain. Assuming he bought at the lowest point in 2016 (~$430) and sold at the high point this August (~$12400), the $500 investment would only yield about $14500.
    – chepner
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 12:55
  • 3
    Consider: if everything is above-board here, why would someone pay you $17,500 to conduct a simple banking transaction that could be performed at little to no cost by the person themselves? Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 16:45

3 Answers 3

12

If it's not money laundering, here's what will happen:

  1. You receive $50,000 in your account.
  2. You give your "friend" $32,500.
  3. The deposit gets reversed. Your $17,500 disappears, and you are on the hook for the remaining $32,500.
  4. You will be unable to contact your "friend" again.

Even the setup is fishy. The highest price for Bitcoin in 2020 was in August, just under $12,400. To recognize a 100x gain, he would have add to buy Bitcoin at $124. Bitcoin does not appear to have traded for so little since 2013.

6

Think of below questions:

  • Why don't your friend open a bank account himself and get the money himself. Why is he using your account for routing the money ? This seems too suspicious.

  • Why your friend is giving you 35% of share, just for sharing your bank account details? This seems too suspicious.

  • Banks are asked to report cash transfers > $10000, as per banking secrecy law to Treasury department. If your transaction is reported, do you have enough data points to clarify this to the Treasury?

  • With your bank details being compromised, there are huge probability of identity theft happening.

From https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/moneylaundering.asp

  • Online banking and cryptocurrencies have made it easier for criminals to transfer and withdraw money without detection.
  • The newest frontier of money laundering involves cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. While not totally anonymous, they are increasingly being used in blackmail schemes, the drug trade, and other criminal activities due to their relative anonymity compared with more conventional forms of currency.
  • The United States passed the Banking Secrecy Act in 1970, requiring financial institutions to report certain transactions to the Department of the Treasury, such as cash transactions above $10,000 or any others they deem suspicious, on a suspicious activity report (SAR).3 The information the banks provide to the Treasury Department is used by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which can share it with domestic criminal investigators, international bodies or foreign financial intelligence units

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3

You say “a friend”. Is it someone who you have known for many years? Who you meet for a beer or two once or twice a week? If not, it’s a scam. Your so-called friend will take $32,500 off you and you will never hear from them again. If yes, your friend has been falling for a scam himself. Tell him that you are not sending any money anywhere, and if he sends money, it will be gone.

Whatever it is, it is a scam, and whatever money is sent will be your loss. Whatever you receive, you won’t be able to keep.

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