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Western Union settles for $586 million after allegations of fraud, money laundering

By Mark Iandolo | Feb 1, 2017

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WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Jan. 19 that the Western Union Company (Western Union), a global money services business headquartered in Colorado, will forfeit $586 million after allegations of allowing consumer fraud and money laundering.


Parties to the settlement include the FTC, the Justice Department, and the U.S. attorneys’ offices of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Central District of California, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Southern District of Florida.


“Western Union owes a responsibility to American consumers to guard against fraud, but instead the company looked the other way, and its system facilitated scammers and ripoffs,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said. “The agreements we are announcing will ensure Western Union changes the way it conducts its business and provides more than a half-billion dollars for refunds to consumers who were harmed by the company’s unlawful behavior.”


According to allegations, fraudsters across the globe have used Western Union over the years to transfer money. The plaintiffs alleged Western Union was aware of the issue but declined to put into place effective anti-fraud and anti-money laundering policies.


“As this case shows, wiring money can be the fastest way to send it – directly into the pockets of criminals and scam artists,” said acting assistant attorney general David Bitkower. “Western Union is paying the price for placing profits ahead of its own customers. Together with our colleagues, the Criminal Division will both hold to account those who facilitate fraud and abuse of vulnerable populations, and also work to recoup losses and compensate victims.”

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U.S. Federal Trade Commission