The banking and hospitality industries are being warned of a possible money laundering scheme that has been detected in the British Virgin Islands.

The Financial Investigation Agency (FIA) made the disclosure on Thursday, July 28, stating that the individual involved in the scheme remains unknown at this present time.

The FIA said the individuals have been using the names of legitimate businesses and individuals.

“The perpetrators have been making false reservations at hotels and guest houses using the names of reputable individuals and businesses. They often pay for the reservation using a cashier’s cheque to the bank account of the hotel or guest house and then cancel and make a request for a refund via email,” the FIA stated.

“The hotel or guest house would facilitate the refund by cheque, so the ill-gotten gains would then be introduced into a financial institution from an apparently legitimate source. Any amount that is kept by the hotel or guest house as a cancellation fee is usually written off by the money launderer as the cost of business,” the Agency further explained.

The FIA further warned that the fraudulent electronic scam may appear legitimate at first glance, as they can be highly sophisticated and perpetrated by familiar persons or businesses.

The Agency is reminding banks and hoteliers of their legal obligation to report any suspicious activity under penalty of law.

To report a money laundering scheme or any other suspicious activity, the FIA advises that businesses and individuals complete the Suspicious Activity Report form at https://tinyurl.com/SAR-Form and submit to the Agency via email at reportingauthoritygroup@fiabvi.vg.