RCMP lay charges in $15-million online cannabis money laundering scheme
20 Dec 2019

Five men are facing multiple charges after an investigation into an Edmonton-based company alleged to be laundering money for unlicensed illegal online cannabis dispensaries.

A year-long investigation conducted by the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit in partnership with multiple government agencies determined Moxipay Corporation was operating as an unregistered money service business, police said Thursday. The investigation revealed that dispensaries not federally licensed to produce or sell cannabis in Canada used Moxipay to transfer and receive funds.

“In this instance, we identified eight online dispensaries who engaged in supplying illegal cannabis. Moxipay was used by those entities basically to layer or launder the funds,” said RCMP Supt. Chad Coles.

“Money wasn’t paid directly from the consumers of the cannabis to the online dispensaries. That money flowed through Moxipay, so Moxipay, in essence, was facilitating the laundering.”

MORE THAN 84,000 TRANSACTIONS

RCMP said between January and December 2018, Moxipay facilitated more than 84,000 transactions where nearly $15 million was received as proceeds from the illegal online sale of cannabis.

Moxipay received the funds through e-transfer payments into several bank accounts and the funds were then laundered by Moxipay either through transfer back to the illegal online cannabis dispensaries or to their direct benefit through third-party individuals and entities.

The investigation began after information was received from a financial institution.

“(They) recognized they had some suspicious financial transactions. It was through the hard work of the investigations that identified Moxipay was being used and was associated to these various illegal online dispensaries,” Coles said.

Normally, purchasing legally online would be through a Visa or PayPal account, Coles said, which is something consumers can be mindful of.

“In instances like this with the illegal dispensaries, you’re sent to a third party like Moxipay,” Coles said. “You are transferring money to a bank account or an email account as opposed to using your Visa or PayPal.”

By Anna Junker, Calgary Sun, 19 December 2019

Read more at Calgary Sun

Photo (cropped and edited): Cannabis Culture [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

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