Kalispell woman pleads not guilty to 'money mule' laundering charges

A Kalispell woman accused of running a “money mule” business to collect funds from multiple wire fraud schemes in the United States and then sending the money overseas in exchange for commission was arraigned on Wednesday in federal court. 

Theresa A. Chabot, 57, pleaded not guilty to a 30-count indictment, including 17 counts of money laundering-promotion, 11 counts of money laundering-spending, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided.

According to federal court documents, over roughly five years, Chabot used her business, Avalanche Creek LLC, to conspire with others on the money schemes. From May 2016 to February 2021, Chabot used Avalanche Creek, an unregistered money transmitting business, to operate as a money mule. 

A money mule is someone who moves illegally obtained money on behalf of someone else, according to the FBI’s website. Typically, mules get commissions for their services. 

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The wire-fraud schemes included advance-pay schemes, internet-enabled frauds, investment schemes, romance schemes, lottery and sweepstakes frauds and COVID-19 funding fraud, court documents allege. 

Chabot opened over 50 bank accounts in the United States. After monitoring the activity, many of the

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