Money Laundering (AKA ‘Deets’ and ‘Squares’)

As a city we seek to continually improve our understanding of child exploitation and through this we become more attuned to different types of exploitation used by criminals.

One form of exploitation of young people we are becoming more aware of is criminal gangs asking young people to launder money.

Money laundering is also known as ‘Deets’ and ‘Squares’ – ‘Deets’ being slang for bank details and a ‘Square’ being a credit or debit card).

Young people may be asked to either give someone their bank details, transfer money into another account or asked take the money out of their account to hand it over to the perpetrator.  Young people may receive a small financial payment for doing this (although this may not always be the case as they may be forced into doing this against their will) or receive other payments such as clothing, alcohol or drugs. Young people may find it difficult to stop transferring funds due to the money or gifts they receive or they may be threatened to carry on against their will.

This can be a particularly difficult crime to identify as it is often undertaken online and out of sight to parents and professional.

The money that young people are asked to accept into their bank account is money gained through illegal activities from organised crime such as drug dealing or fraud where the criminal needs to hide financial activities from banks and the police. It is also known as money laundering. It is dependent on using bank or building society accounts which may not draw attention to the illegal activities however banks are becoming more sophisticated in identifying irregular activities in bank accounts and will investigate every case they come across.

Young people may be approached by criminals on line or in person in their communities and may be persuaded that it doesn’t carry any risks to them however, it is a criminal offence which may result in the young person’s bank account being cancelled, difficulties getting credit for things such as mobile phones or getting access to student loans or it can carry a sentence of up to 14 years. It also puts young people at risk by having any association with an organised crime gang and potentially being exploited in other ways.

It is important that young people are aware of these risks and the dangers that can come from being involved in money laundering and something that you may need to consider when undertaking an assessment with a young person.