Office of Consumer Affairs and Division of Banks Announce Florida-Based Companies Prohibited From Transmitting Money to Foreign Countries
Marks Third Shut Down by Division of Banks for Illegal Remittance to Brazil
BOSTON– The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and Division of Banks announced today that the Division ordered Florida-based InterTransfers, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Global Money Remittance, Inc. to immediately cease accepting money from Massachusetts consumers after learning that the companies had not been making the transmittals since March of this year.
InterTransfers and Global Money Remittance have been licensed with the Division since August 3, 2007, and April 10, 2006, respectively, to offer foreign transmittal services through 52 authorized agent locations in the Commonwealth. InterTransfers owns Global Money Remittance but they were licensed individually. Both companies primarily transferred funds to Brazil.
The Division began its investigation after receiving several complaints from licensed agents for the companies alleging that funds accepted for transfer by these companies were not sent or received in a timely manner by the recipients in Brazil. A foreign transmittal agency, which is a company licensed to transfer funds from one country to another, is required to ensure that funds are sent to the intended recipients within seven days. Along with the complaints, the Division uncovered evidence that between the two companies, a combined 102 transactions totaling $231,531.60 had not been completed since March 19, 2013. The Division is working to determine whether the intended recipients have received the funds.
The order, which was originally a temporary order dated April 10 and became a permanent order May 1, requires the companies to provide evidence that all money previously transferred have been completed with no loss to consumers or evidence that any money collected has been refunded.
“These companies allegedly failed to complete consumer financial transactions,” said Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Undersecretary Barbara Anthony. “These allegations are extremely troubling, particularly as many consumers are placing their good faith in these businesses to send their money abroad to families and friends. We hope to work with the company in order to ensure all consumer transactions were completed on the up and up.”
InterTransfers, Inc. and Global Money Remittance, Inc. will have a right to request a hearing before the Division.
"This action has been taken on the heels of an enforcement action by the Division of Banks against another foreign transmittal agency who primarily transmitted money abroad,” said Commissioner of Banks David J. Cotney. “I want to make it patently clear that the Division of Banks will not tolerate companies that engage in unsafe and unsound practices that jeopardize consumer funds.”
In April the Division shut down Saugus-based Braz transfers after finding that it was illegally remitting money to Brazil. The Division alleged in its Cease and Desist order that Braz Transfers should have transferred money through two Brazilian banks. However, its examination uncovered numerous transactions that were not completed by either bank between 2012 and 2013. Under the terms of the order, Braz Transfers must provide evidence that all money transfers were completed with no loss to consumers or evidence that any money improperly collected has been refunded.
In conjunction with the action taken, the Division issued a letter to the authorized agent locations within the Commonwealth, advising them that they are no longer able to use InterTransfers, Inc. and Global Money Remittance, Inc. to remit money abroad.
Consumer Affairs and the Division of Banks offer the following advice to consumers looking for a foreign transmittal agency:
- Check the Division’s website at www.mass.gov/dob and the NMLS Consumer AccessSM at www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org to ensure that the company and agent location is properly licensed or if there are any actions against the company.
- Shop different licensed foreign transmittal agencies as rates and fees vary between locations.
Consumers with questions or complaints regarding foreign transmittal agencies should contact the Division of Banks’ Consumer Hotline at 1-800-495-BANK (2265) x 501.
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.