Feds Target Western Union in Online Gambling Probe
Western Union, one of the largest payment transfer companies on the planet, is the target of a Federal investigation involving online gambling payments from offshore casinos.
According to CNBC, the feds have issued a large number of subpoenas to the company for documents relating to online gambling payments. In what could be an ominous sign for the company, the impetus for the subpoenas were a large number of consumer complaints.
The CNBC report went to say that some of those complaints went back as far as 2004. News of the investigation has been simmering for quite some time, but broke out in a big way with news of the investigation.
Among the newly learned details is the fact that much of the investigation is focused on a group of 43 Western Union agents in Nicaragua. But while Nicaragua is at the center of the investigation, it’s hardly the only place. Other locations mentioned in the Federal subpoenas include Haiti, Philippines, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Peru, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Not surprisingly, news of the investigation has had a negative impact on the massive company’s bottom line. As of Q4 2015, Western Union profits were down a whopping 27% from the previous year – though much of that is the result of increased security measures.
Company officials are playing it cool, despite the fact that they could be subject to massive fines. In a statement to the press, company officials said simply:
The government’s investigation is ongoing and the company may receive additional requests for information as part of the investigation.
Given the scope of the investigation, that seems a near certainty.