SCVNews.com | Victims of Western Union Fraud Encouraged to Seek Compensation

The United States Department of Justice announced on July 6 that it has begun the second phase of the amnesty process to provide restitution to victims of Western Union fraud.

In 2017, Western Union entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice and agreed to forfeit $586 million. The Department of Justice has previously distributed more than $366 million to more than 148,000 victims. Because there are additional lost funds in this case, the Department of Justice has reopened the petition process for potential victims who have not previously petitioned for clemency.

Victims of fraud who sent a money transfer through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 can file a petition for forgiveness and receive compensation for the losses they suffered as a result of the fraud. Individuals who believe they may be victims can file a petition online or obtain a petition form online Western Union Remission in phase 2. The deadline for petitioning for leave is August 31, 2022. Additional information on the waiver process, including eligibility criteria, updates, and frequently asked questions is available on the waiver website or by calling 1-855-786-1048.

“The administration is pleased to have awarded compensation to more than 148,000 victims and hopes that additional victims will take advantage of the opportunity to file lawsuits related to the harms caused by these schemes,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polit. . “Asset forfeiture is an important tool for compensating crime victims.”

“The hard work of our dedicated investigators and prosecutors brought Western Union to justice and brought justice to the many individuals who committed fraud through the Western Union system,” said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Gerard M. Cabbage. “While we are pleased that thousands of victims have already received compensation, our work continues as we urge other victims of fraud who have not yet submitted their clemency petitions to do so immediately so they too can receive compensation.”

“The USPS is very pleased and honored to be a part of this collaborative effort, providing more than $366 million in financial assistance to so many victims,” ​​said USPS Philadelphia Division Superintendent Damon E. Wood. “As we move forward with the second phase of Western Union Remission, we will continue to support the mission to ensure that funds are returned to their rightful owners.”

“Fraudsters used Western Union’s money transfer system because they knew the company was turning a blind eye,” said Samuel Levin, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Together with our legal partners, we are continuing to refund those affected by the company’s failings, and people still have until August 31 to file claims.”

Under the DPA, Western Union accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct, which included violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and aiding and abetting wire fraud, and agreed to forfeit $586 million made available to victims of an international consumer fraud scheme. to compensate. . Western Union simultaneously settled the civil investigation with the FTC.

According to court documents, the scammers used multiple scams to target consumers, including the elderly, and convince their victims to send money through Western Union. Three specific scams targeting the elderly included the so-called grandparent scam, where the scammer poses as a relative of the victim who supposedly needs money urgently to avoid personal harm; sweepstakes or lottery scams, where the fraudster tells the victim that they have won a large cash prize but must pay fees, such as taxes, to claim the prize; and romance scams, where the fraudster poses as an online love interest and asks for money for a visit or other purpose.

Certain owners, operators or employees of Western Union were complicit in the scheme. Western Union aided and abetted the scheme by not suspending or terminating the complicit agents and allowing them to continue processing the fraudulent money transactions. Western Union complied with its obligations under the DPA, and the court granted the motion to dismiss the criminal information against Western Union.

The Department of Justice, through the Asset Forfeiture Program, works diligently to recover lost funds to victims of crime and acknowledges the significant assistance of the Harrisburg Office of the US Postal Inspection Service’s Philadelphia Division in victim restitution and criminal fraud investigations. Since fiscal year 2000, the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), which will oversee the pardon process, has successfully used its specialized expertise to return billions in lost assets to crime victims. The victim compensation payments in this case would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of MLARS and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Central District of California, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Southern District of Florida. The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Inspector General of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General provided valuable assistance. The FTC launched a civil fraud investigation.

“Gilardi & Co.” LLC serves as the release administrator in this matter. Gilardi & Co. LLC and the Department of Justice will not require any payment to participate in this removal process.

For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud, visit www.uspis.gov or www.consumer.ftc.gov.

For more information on applying for a refund visit Western Union Refunds.

The application deadline is August 31, 2022.

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SCVNews.com | Victims of Western Union Fraud Encouraged to Seek Compensation
Source link SCVNews.com | Victims of Western Union Fraud Encouraged to Seek Compensation

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