For Immediate Release - February 14, 2013

Consumer Affairs and Division of Banks Warn Consumers Shut Down Foreign Transmittal Agent

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and Division of Banks today announced that the Division has shut down Doubles Building Society, an online money transmitter that was illegally offering money remittance services to Kenya.

“This unlicensed and illegal entity was placing consumers at risk,” said Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Undersecretary Barbara Anthony. “This company was taking advantage of those members of our immigrant population who are looking for convenient avenues to send money to their families abroad. It is extremely important for consumers to be aware of the related dangers and ensure they only use those agents that are properly licensed.”

Doubles Building Society, an LCC doing business as a Small Financial Organization, operated as recently as late 2012. Though it primarily offered online services, Doubles also had locations in Worcester and Lowell. A foreign transmittal company is a business that must be licensed under state law with the Division to receive and transfer deposits from consumers to foreign countries.

Doubles Building Society and its owner Bernard Kamiri was shut down by the Division in late 2012 after the agency received evidence the company was violating a June 2012 consent order by offering money remittance services to Kenya without proper licensure.

Doubles Building Society predominately served Kenyan immigrants located in the Worcester and Lowell areas, sending funds from these Massachusetts consumers to destinations in Kenya through the websites moneytokenya.com and doublesxpress.com.

The company has a history of disciplinary actions from the Division for allegedly operating a business that did not follow state laws regarding remittance companies, including failing to maintain records. Doubles also failed to demonstrate that it was operating fairly and honestly.

“This company has exhibited unsafe and unsound practices and has flagrantly disregarded Massachusetts statutes and regulations,” said Commissioner of Banks David J. Cotney. "The company is not complying with bonding requirements and this practice presents significant risk to consumers who could lose their money without any recourse or source of recovery. All foreign transmittal agencies must comply with the statutory, licensing and bonding provisions if they intend to offer services to Massachusetts consumers. The Division of Banks will aggressively identify and pursue these types of unlicensed entities to the fullest extent possible.”

Consumer Affairs and the Division offer the following advice to consumers looking to find a trustworthy foreign transmittal company to do business with:

  • Check the Division’s website at www.mass.gov/dob to ensure that the entity you intend to do business with is properly licensed.
  • Obtain a receipt for all transactions. Ensure it accurately reflects the recipient information, transaction amounts and exchange rate.
  • Shop different foreign transmittal companies to see which ones offer better rates and services.

Anyone with additional questions regarding foreign transmittal agencies may contact the Division of Banks’ Consumer Hotline at 1-800-495-BANK (2265) x 501.

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