US: DFS fines Western Union $60 million


January 4, 2018

Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo today announced that Western Union has agreed to pay a $60 million fine as part of a consent order with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) for violations of New York Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering laws (AML). An investigation by DFS found that, for more than a decade, Western Union failed to implement and maintain an anti-money laundering compliance program to deter, detect and report on criminals’ use of its electronic network to facilitate fraud, money laundering and the illegal structuring of transactions below amounts that would trigger regulatory reporting requirements. In addition, the DFS investigation discovered that senior Western Union executives and managers willfully ignored, and failed to report to DFS, suspicious transactions to Western Union locations in China by several high-volume agents in New York, other states and around the world, including money transfers that may have aided human trafficking. DFS licenses and regulates money transmitters in New York State and is the sole regulator for Western Union in New York State.