MoneyGram agrees to settle scam charges

From CDT staff and wire reportsNovember 9, 2012 

MoneyGram said Friday that it has agreed to set up a $100 million compensation fund as part of a settlement of government allegations of fraud through money-transfer scams from 2003 to 2009.

Under the terms of the deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the Department of Justice, MoneyGram International Inc. said it has also taken other steps to prevent more scams. These include adding more investigators and beefing up technology to detect fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, State College residents were among those in 27 central Pennsylvania communities who were victimized. The crimes were not generated in Pennsylvania; most were originated from Toronto, Ontario, and cities in New Jersey, New York and Illinois.

The payment services provider said it has terminated relationships with the agents suspected of masterminding the fraud. It said it has also overhauled its corporate compliance program and began a new training program for agents to better sniff out and report scams.

The company previously set aside the money to compensate victims.

“The conduct described in the (settlement agreement) is unacceptable to MoneyGram and counter to everything we strive to stand for,” said Pamela Patsley, chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We take compliance very seriously at MoneyGram, and nothing angers us more than when our services are used to perpetrate illegal activity.”

The Dallas-based company also said Friday that it lost $54.1 million, or 77 cents per share, in its third quarter due to costs related to the fraud settlement and related legal expenses. It had net income of $15.8 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago.

Its revenue rose 5 percent to $338.6 million from $322 million a year ago.

It now expects full-year earnings to come in at the low end of its previous expectations.

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