Division Of Banks Orders Money Transfer Business To Shut Down
For Immediate Release
Contact: Thomas Curry or David Cotney
March 14, 2002
Division of Banks (617) 956-1510
Division of Banks Orders Money Transfer Business to Shut Down
Today, the Division of Banks (Division) issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist (Order) against House Remittance, Inc. (House) of Framingham, and its principals Ronaldo Freitas and Carlos Coelho. House also operates at eight other licensed locations in Allston, Acton, East Boston, Hyannis, Lowell, Marlborough, Shrewsbury, and Somerville. House specialized in transmitting money to South America, specifically for the Brazilian community.
During the course of an examination of the books and records of House, the Division discovered the following illegal activities:
- House may have underreported the amount of money it transmitted by as much as $50 million or more.
- The underreported transmissions resulted in House obtaining a bond that was insufficient to cover potential defaults or failed transmissions.
- House was operating from unlicensed locations in Everett, Peabody, and Quincy.
- House violated numerous other State and federal laws and regulations, including the anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act.
As part of its Order, the Division ordered House to raise its bond with the Commonwealth from the current $219,000, to nearly $12 million. In addition, the Division ordered House to reimburse consumers for fees paid on all illegal transmissions.
Foreign transmittal agencies accept money from individuals to transmit abroad, many times to family living in other countries. The Division took action against House in part to ensure that the hard-earned money of working class immigrants is getting back home to support their families. The Division does not tolerate illegal or unlicensed money transmission activity and will use its authority to stop such activity. The Division may also refer such illegal or unlicensed activity to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
The Division licenses and supervises foreign transmittal agencies pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 169 and its implementing regulations found at 209 CMR 44.00 et seq. As part of its supervisory mission with respect to foreign transmittal agencies, the Division seeks to ensure that the public is dealing with licensed transmitters and that consumers are adequately protected in the event that transmitted monies are not received. Illegal or abusive transmitters are able to take advantage of the most vulnerable members of our society.
Consumers who have concerns about their dealings with any foreign transmittal agency should contact the Division at (800) 495-BANK (2265).