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Western Union under investigation for possible connection to fraud

The company has received multiple subpoenas from the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Western Union Co. may soon be involved in the biggest money transfer of them all: a penalty to the government for its connection to fraud, if a current government investigation turns up positive.

In a company regulatory filing released on Feb. 24, Western Union revealed that the U.S. government is investigating the world’s largest money-transfer company for money moved over its network that may be connected to fraud.

The company says that the multiple subpoenas it has received have come from the U.S. attorney's office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. These subpoenas have all arrived since Nov. 25, and they seek customer complaints “relating to fraud-induced money transfers since Jan. 1, 2008,” as well as information about the company’s money agents, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The government's investigation is ongoing and the company may receive additional requests for information as part of the investigation,” Western Union said in the report. “The company is cooperating fully with the government.”

This isn’t the first battle that the company has had with the U.S. government. In late 2013, Western Union went to court with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over an investigation into allegations that Western Union customers were being “deceived into wiring money to third parties.” The company had resisted a civil investigative demand from the FTC, but a judge ordered them to comply in December 2013.

Western Union revealed in its Monday filing that the FTC investigation is still ongoing, and the company actually received another civil investigative demand from the commission on Feb. 21.

The nature of fraud is changing as technology changes, but money-transfer companies such as Western Union are not necessarily out of the woods. Even though many scammers now conduct their fraud schemes via email, some scammers may still attempt to use money-transfer services in order to actually receive their funds.


Fraud can be dangerous for in-house counsel. Read about all of the latest fraud-related news here:

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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