MoneyGram International Inc. – headquartered in Dallas – has agreed to forfeit $100 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Justice Department in which it admits to criminally aiding and abetting wire fraud and failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program.
According to court documents, starting in 2004 and continuing until 2009, “MoneyGram violated U.S. law by processing thousands of transactions for MoneyGram agents known to be involved in an international scheme to defraud U.S. citizens. MoneyGram profited from the scheme by collecting fees and other revenues on the fraudulent transactions. Schemes – which generally targeted the elderly and other vulnerable groups – included posing as victims’ relatives in urgent need of money, falsely promising victims large cash prizes, various high-ticket items for sale over the Internet at deeply discounted prices, or employment opportunities as secret shoppers.”
In each case, the perpetrators required the victims to send them funds through MoneyGram’s money transfer system.
Despite thousands of complaints, MoneyGram failed to terminate agents that it knew were involved in scams. Reported instances of fraudulent activity grew from 1,575 in 2004 to 19,614 in 2008, totaling at least $100 million.
To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has brought conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges against 28 former MoneyGram agents.
Persons who were victims can get instructions on how to request compensation by visiting the Department of Justice’s victim website or call (U.S. residents only): 877-282-2610 or 317-324-0390.
Learn more about ways to protect yourself at the Tri-State BBB website!