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Western Union Agrees to the Largest Financial Forfeiture by a Money Service Business

As a result of extensive, well-coordinated investigations and lawsuits, your BBB® has learned that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Justice Department, FBI, IRS, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), several U.S. Attorneys, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), and the Office of the Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System recently announced the Western Union settlement. The charges were extensive.

The FTC complaint says that Western Union “knew that massive fraud was afoot and had the ability to address it, but chose to look the other way, and continued to do so in the face of obvious evidence.” In addition to the FTC lawsuit, the Justice Department was also conducting a criminal investigation of Western Union for “failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act” (BSA) and for violating anti-fraud statutes. The Justice Department’s Criminal Division Acting Assistant Attorney General (AG) David Bitkower was quoted in the press release as saying, “Western Union is now paying the price for putting profits ahead of its own customers.”

According to an FTC blog the agencies investigating Western Union found that between 2004 and 2015, Western Union received

  • almost 150,000 complaints about bogus online purchases totaling at least $187 million in losses,
  • a little over 75,000 complaints about fraudulent lotteries totaling $86 million in losses,
  • almost 42,000 complaints about emergency scams totaling at least $73 million in losses.

Click here to read more about the settlement and how you may be able to get compensation.

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