Have you been accused of engaging in money flipping, Instagram, TikTok or Cash App Scams? The penalties can be steep. Contact the Helfend Law Group today to discuss your case – 800-834-6434.

Influencers on platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Twitter make cash flipping scams look like easy money. However, running any type of online scam can lead to hard time if you get caught.

It’s possible to catch federal charges like wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, depending on the specifics of your case. These carry steep penalties, including extensive prison times. 

Americans lost more than $12.5 billion to online fraud in 2023, up 22% compared to the prior year and an all-time high, according to the FBI’s latest Internet Crime Report. This has prompted federal agencies to crack down on social media scams.

If you have been accused of running cash flipping, deposit scams, marketplace fraud or any type of online scam, you need experienced legal representation.

The Helfend Law Group specializes in defending clients against federal fraud charges. Contact us today at 800-834-6434 for a free case evaluation.

What is money flipping?

Money flipping is a very common online scam, which involves the victim sending money to the scammer with the promise that they will receive a significantly larger amount in return within a short period. Many types of Cash App flip schemes today are hooked to cryptocurrencies. The victim will transfer funds to the scammer’s crypto wallet, Cash App account or payment app.

However, once the victim sends the money, they either receive nothing in return or are asked to send more money to cover supposed fees or taxes. In reality, there is no legitimate investment or method to quickly multiply money as promised, and the initial funds sent by the victim are simply stolen. 

What are other common Cash App scams?

Of course, money flipping is just one type of scam that can get you into legal trouble. Some others include:

  • Accidental Cash App transactions – The scammer sends the victim an unsolicited Cash App payment, and then they reach out to request that the recipient return the funds. After the recipient initiates another transaction to send the funds back, the scammer will dispute the original transaction and keep the recipient’s return.
  • Payment claiming – The scammer sends a message to the victim notifying them that they have been sent a payment, and the victim needs to send a processing fee to claim the payment. The scammer will then keep the victim’s “fee” without sending a payment.
  • Pets, apartments and property deposits – This is a marketplace scam that involves the scammer listing a valuable pet, apartment or other kind of property (jewelry, sneakers, etc.) significantly below the market rate on a marketplace. The scammer then asks for a deposit on the sale and never provides the property.
  • Fake giveaway scams – These require the victim to download a separate app or complete a “test” transaction to enter the giveaway. However, the giveaway is not legit.
  • Marketplace scams – These most commonly start on marketplaces like Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. This involves the scammer making a fake Cash App payment, which the victim never receives.

Penalties for engaging in Cash App scams

Internet crimes are typically investigated by the federal government, because the nature of the internet allows information to cross state lines easily, giving federal authorities jurisdiction.

Agencies like the FBI and the Secret Service often lead these investigations. They collaborate with state and local law enforcement, leveraging federal resources to dismantle networks involved in online fraud, identity theft and other cybercrimes.

The penalties for engaging in or running Cash App scams depend on how the scheme was carried out. Here are some common charges we see for Cash App flip schemes.

Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)

Wire fraud involves using electronic communications to carry out a scheme to defraud. If you’re involved in a money flipping scam on Cash App, you could face wire fraud charges under 18 U.S.C. § 1343. Penalties for wire fraud can include up to 20 years in prison, hefty fines and potential restitution to victims.

Mail Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341)

Mail fraud charges apply if the scam involves using the postal service to execute or attempt to execute a fraudulent scheme. Even if the scam operates primarily online, using mail services at any stage can trigger charges under 18 U.S.C. § 1341, carrying prison sentences up to five years and significant fines.

Money Laundering (18 U.S.C. § 1956)

Money laundering involves processing illegal gains to make them appear legitimate. If you’re caught moving money through Cash App or other channels as part of a scam, you could face money laundering charges under 18 U.S.C. § 1956. These charges carry up to 20 years in prison and substantial fines.

Identity Theft (18 U.S.C. § 1028)

Many Cash App scams involve stealing personal information. If you use someone else’s identity to conduct fraudulent activities, you can be charged with identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028. This crime carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371)

If you work with others to carry out a Cash App scam, you might be charged with conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 371. This statute makes it illegal to agree with one or more persons to commit a crime and take some step towards its completion. Conspiracy charges can lead to the same penalties as the underlying offense.

Defenses against money flipping accusations

If you or someone you know has been accused of money flipping, Cash App scams or any type of online fraud, it’s important to speak with a skilled federal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Your attorney will review the details of your case with you and strategize on the ideal defense. Depending on the facts of your case, defense strategies can include:

  • Lack of intent – Proving that you had no intention to commit fraud can weaken the prosecution’s case.
  • Insufficient evidence – If the evidence is circumstantial, improperly obtained, or fails to establish a clear link between you and the fraudulent activities, it can lead to dismissal or reduction of charges.
  • Mistaken Identity – If you can show that your accounts were being used by someone else, for example if they were hacked, you might be able to successfully fight your charges..
  • Entrapment – If law enforcement officials induced you to commit a crime you would not have otherwise committed, demonstrating entrapment can be used to argue against the charges.

The Helfend Law Group specializes in defending clients against federal fraud charges. Contact us today at 800-834-6434 for a free case evaluation and let us help you build a strong defense.

Published May 30, 2024.