Steve Bryant, over at GoogleWatch, has gone through a recent subpoena from US Immigration and Customs to Yahoo where they're trying to catch an online counterfeit money laundering scammer that gives you a decent idea of how the scam works. Basically, the scammers (in Ghana) advertise online for people in the US who want to "work from home." They then send them packages of counterfeit travellers checks. The recipient is asked to take the bundles out of one FedEx box, move them to another and ship them to someone else's house. The next person (who thinks they're dealing with an entirely different company), is told to cash the checks, keep 10% for themselves, and then send the rest to someone else outside the country who likely doesn't exist and is simply a place for the money to go. That way, the scammers send a bunch of counterfeit money into the US, it gets moved around a few times making it harder to track, and then is converted to valid currency by someone who doesn't realize they're using counterfeit money. You would think that those who sign up for such money-laundering-from-home operations would be a bit more suspicious, but as long as they're getting paid for shipping around boxes or wiring money, they don't seem to care very much.
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