U.S. Postal Inspection Service delivers $14 million to victims of scam
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that today the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is delivering over 3400 checks to victims of marketing schemes by MoneyGram agents and others.
The distribution payments were made from a $100 million fund paid by MoneyGram as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in 2012. The settlement was approved by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner.
“The postman always rings twice” is the title of a movie that has nothing to do with the mail. But today, it’s the Postal Inspectors who are ringing a second time and they are delivering 3,440 checks totaling more than $14 million to victims of fraud scams. The restitution checks range from several hundred dollars to more than $249,000 to a victim in California.
This effort marks the second wave of reimbursement checks delivered to victims of a scam involving MoneyGram. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, MoneyGram was involved in international mass marketing consumer fraud schemes, perpetrated by corrupt MoneyGram agents and others, that defrauded tens of thousands of victims in the United States. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.
In December of 2013, Postal Inspectors coordinated the disbursement of $46 million to more than 18,000 consumers who were victims of the MoneyGram fraud. This disbursement includes remission to 149 Pennsylvania petitioners totaling more than $500,000. Monies compensated to 1,087 Pennsylvania petitioners for the two disbursements totals over $3 million.
“Many of the 18,000 scam victims lost thousands and thousands of dollars through this scam, putting them and their families in dire straits,” said David Bosch, Postal Inspector in Charge of the agency that investigated MoneyGram. “Returning their money, which most victims thought was gone forever, is an opportunity to provide justice to the victims in a very tangible way.”
As part of the scam, MoneyGram collected fees and other revenues from fraudulent transactions that were part of scams that got people to send money using MoneyGram in order to, for instance, help what they thought was a relative in urgent need of money or to access a large cash prize.
MoneyGram reached a settlement with federal authorities and agreed to pay $100 million to victims of the consumer fraud scams that occurred between 2004 and 2009.
Consumers can learn more about how to protect themselves against fraud at http://www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov and at http://www.DeliveringTrust.com. Customers should call 1-877-876-2455 to report suspected frauds.