Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Division of Banks Announce Saugus- Based Foreign Transmittal Company Put Out Of Business
Company Allegedly Illegally Remitted Money to Brazil
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Division of Banks announced today that the Division ordered Saugus-based Braz Transfers, Inc., to immediately cease accepting money from Massachusetts consumers and transmitting those funds to foreign countries.
Braz Transfers, Inc., has been licensed with the Division since 2004 to offer foreign transmittal services through 93 authorized agent locations in the Commonwealth. Braz Transfers, which primarily transferred funds to Brazil, also operated a licensed check cashing location in Somerville, Massachusetts which was also ordered to shut down by the Division.
A review by the Division found that Braz Transfers falsified payment receipts to transfer funds from Massachusetts consumers to parties in Brazil. A foreign transmittal agency, which is an institution that is licensed to transfer funds from one country to another, is required to ensure that funds are sent through authorized agents in the receiving country. In this case, Braz Transfers should have transferred money through two Brazilian banks. However, the Division’s examination uncovered numerous transactions that were not completed by either bank between 2011 and 2013. It is uncertain whether the intended recipients ever received the funds. Under the terms of the order, Braz Transfers must provide evidence that all money transfers have been completed with no loss to consumers or evidence that any money collected has been refunded.
“Fabrication of documents is an attempt to deceive Massachusetts consumers and regulators,” said Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Undersecretary Barbara Anthony. “These findings are a significant violation of laws that are in place to protect consumers when they send money internationally and these actions are unconscionable.”
Braz Transfers, Inc. will have a right to request a hearing before the Division.
“This company has put Massachusetts’ consumer funds at risk by not using authorized banks and falsifying documentation,” said Commissioner of Banks David J. Cotney. "The Division of Banks will continue to pursue actions against companies that engage in unsafe and unsound practices that jeopardize consumer funds”.
In conjunction with the action taken, the Division issued a letter to all of the authorized agent locations within the Commonwealth, advising them that they are no longer able to use Braz Transfers to remit money abroad.
Consumer Affairs and the Division of Banks offer the following advice to consumers looking for a foreign transmittal agency or check casher:
- 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 and check cashers, as rates and fees vary between locations.
Anyone with questions regarding foreign transmittal agencies or check cashers may 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.