Western Union to Pay $58 Million to DOJ for Aiding Gambling and Fraud
Western Union has been ordered to pay a $586 million fine for aiding criminal transactions, including those associated with gambling and internet fraud. It is believed to be the largest such fine ever levied on a financial services company.
Among the allegations leveled against Western Union by the attorneys at the DOJ are suggestions that they aided human smugglers, internet scammers, and illegal (in the United States, anyways) Costa Rican online gambling operations.
Attorneys at DOJ offices across the country were involved in the case, which reached back to 2004. The department said that during this time, Western Union agents and executives knowingly aided and abetted wire fraud by allowing the transactions to take place.
In a statement to Fortune.com, Acting Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower said that, “Western Union is now paying the price for placing profits ahead of its own customers.”
What Western Union, its employees, and executives will not be doing as a result of their decision to look the other way from criminal activities is prison time. As of this writing, no criminal charges have been filed against any actual person at the company.
Fortune also noted that the company was well aware of what was happening, but took no internal disciplinary procedures against the more than 2,000 employees who were involved.
While $586 million might sound like a lot to the common people, it’s just a drop in the bucket for Western-Union. In 2015, the company helped move more than $150 billion dollars and earns more than $1.5 billion in profits most years.