“The postman always rings twice” is the title of a movie that has nothing to do with the mail. Today, it’s Postal Inspectors who are ringing twice, this time delivering 3,440 refund checks totaling more than $14 million to fraud victims. The restitution ranges from several hundred dollars to more than $249,000 for one victim in California.
This 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 an international, mass-marketing fraud perpetrated by corrupt MoneyGram agents and others who defrauded tens of thousands of victims in the United States. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Justice, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.
In December 2013, Postal Inspectors coordinated the disbursement of $46 million to more than 18,000 consumers victimized by MoneyGram. The disbursement includes remission to 149 Pennsylvania petitioners totaling more than $500,000. More than $3 million in total was disbursed to 1,087 Pennsylvania petitioners.
“Many of the 18,000 scam victims lost thousands and thousands of dollars, placing them and their families in dire straits,” said David Bosch, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Philadelphia Division, which investigated MoneyGram. “Returning their money, which most victims thought was gone forever, is an opportunity to provide justice to victims in a tangible way.”
As part of the scam, MoneyGram agents collected fees and other revenue from fraudulent transactions that induced people to send money via MoneyGram; for instance, to purportedly help a relative in urgent need of money, or to access a large (non-existent) cash prize.
MoneyGram reached a settlement with federal authorities and agreed to pay $100 million to victims of its consumer fraud that occurred between 2004 and 2009.
Consumers can learn more about how to protect themselves against fraud at postalinspectors.uspis.gov or DeliveringTrust.com. Customers should call 1-877-876-2455 to report suspected fraud.
Read more: NEWS RELEASE – August 19, 2014.