Justice Department Announces Distribution of $40 Million to Western Union Victims
The Justice Department has initiated the distribution of approximately $40 million from the Western Union Remission Fund to around 25,000 victims, both in the United States and abroad. These victims will receive full compensation for their losses, marking the beginning of the second phase of Western Union Remission distributions.
First Phase Success
In the first phase of distributions, over $365 million was disbursed to more than 148,000 victims, ensuring full compensation for their losses. The Justice Department intends to authorize additional distributions for victims in the coming months.
Expanding the Second Phase
The second phase of the Western Union Remission was launched in March 2022 to provide an opportunity for victims who had not previously filed petitions to seek remission.
The Justice Department continues to accept petitions from those affected by the scheme.
Commitment to Victim Assistance
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri emphasized the importance of victim assistance, highlighting that this distribution underscores the impact of asset forfeiture in compensating and making victims whole.
U.S. Attorney’s Perspective
U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam for the Middle District of Pennsylvania reiterated the commitment to holding responsible parties accountable and ensuring justice for financially harmed victims.
He expressed gratitude to law enforcement partners involved in this effort.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Involvement
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) remains dedicated to protecting fraud victims and investigating such schemes. Postal Inspector in Charge Christopher Nielsen of the USPIS Philadelphia Division commended the efforts in disbursing $39 million to 25,000 victims, bringing the total distributed to over $404 million for more than 174,000 victims in the Western Union Remission process.
Background on Western Union Case
In 2017, Western Union entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the United States, acknowledging its criminal conduct, including violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and aiding and abetting wire fraud.
Western Union agreed to forfeit $586 million to compensate victims of an international consumer fraud scheme.
This scheme targeted consumers through various scams, including the grandparent scam, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and romance scams, convincing victims to send money through Western Union.
The DPA resolved a parallel civil investigation with the Federal Trade Commission.
Acknowledgments and Collaborative Efforts
The Justice Department, through the Asset Forfeiture Program, strives to restore lost funds to crime victims. The USPIS Philadelphia Division’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Office played a significant role in the Western Union remission.
Valuable assistance was provided by various agencies, including the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, FBI Los Angeles Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations Philadelphia, Federal Reserve Board, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Office of Inspector General, and the Department of the Treasury Office of Inspector General.
For more information about the Western Union Remission Fund and compensation to victims, visit www.WesternUnionRemissionPhase2.com. Questions can be directed to the Western Union Remission Administrator via phone at (855) 786-1048 or email at info@WesternUnionRemissionPhase2.com.