Modern scammers use a wide variety of techniques and tactics to separate you from your money – get-rich-quick investment schemes, natural disaster relief pleas, international lottery scams (You’ve won! Remit a small processing fee and we’ll send you millions!)
Chances are, these scammers have one thing in common – they urged their victims to send money via an electronic money transfer system like the service offered by MoneyGram International. The simplicity of MoneyGram and the fact these transactions are hard to trace has made it one of the payment modes of choice for a universe of unscrupulous con men and women.
This fall, however, it’s payback time.
MoneyGram has agreed to pay $100 million into a compensation fund for victims of scams that involved MoneyGram payments. Some Oregonians are eligible to share in the refunds, said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
The $100 million payment is part of a settlement and deferred prosecution agreement the company reached last year with the U.S. Department of Justice. The Dallas, Texas-based MoneyGram admitted it aided and abetted wire fraud and that it failed to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Federal prosecutors agreed to take no further action against the company if it agreed to the appointment of an independent compliance monitor and forfeited the $100 million to repay fraud victims.
Oregonians who fell victim to such a scam between Jan. 1, 2004 and Aug. 31, 2009 may be eligible to get a piece of the fund.
The Oregon Department of Justice is not party to the settlement, but the department’s Consumer Protection/ Financial Fraud Section closely tracks these kind of fraud-induced money transfers. Oregon DOJ records indicate there are at least 47 Oregon victims eligible for the MoneyGram refunds. They reported losses of $190,585.
If you believe you may be an eligible victim and you have not filed a consumer complaint with the Oregon DOJ, call 877-282-2610 or go to http://gilardi.com/moneygram for more information. Victims must submit a remission form along with any available supporting documentation by Nov. 15, 2013.
Jeff Manning, Department of Justice, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-378-6002