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Money Transfers

January 14, 2003
A man pleaded guilty in Salt Lake City to running an illegal money-transferring business that sent nearly $2 million to the Middle East. Kareem Abdalhassin Albasam, 42, allegedly used nine personal accounts at four Utah banks to transfer the money to Arab Bank in Amman, Jordan. His brother later distributed the money in Jordan, Syria and Iraq, authorities said. Albasam faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced March 24.
November 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank law in 2010, it included a little-noticed provision requiring financial companies and banks to provide greater disclosure to customers sending money overseas. Last week, the new rules took effect, guaranteeing consumers much-needed protections and greater transparency. Until now, banks and money-transfer companies have been required to comply with federal laws aimed at curbing money laundering and fighting terrorism. But there have been no federal regulations in place mandating what they were required to disclose to consumers.
October 19, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Western Union Co. said Thursday that it was teaming up with cellphone service providers to develop a system that would allow consumers to transfer money from country to country using mobile phones. Western Union has successfully tested cellphone money-transfer services in a number of U.S. cities. It will work with the GSM Assn., an international trade group of cellphone service providers, on commercial and technical issues to enable services to be offered internationally.
October 21, 2013 | By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON - Dominik Neubauer stared into the camera, the steel barrel of an assault rifle pointed at his head. A Yemeni "tribe" had taken him hostage, the 26-year-old Austrian student said in English, a tear rolling down his left cheek. If they aren't paid a ransom, he continued, "they will kill me seven days after this video is published. " In May, three months after the video appeared on YouTube, Neubauer was freed along with a Finnish couple who had also been kidnapped near an Arabic language school in Sana, Yemen's capital.
April 27, 2002 | Bloomberg News
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to offer money transfers from its 2,760 U.S. stores as it tries to attract shoppers with added services. The world's biggest retailer will offer Viad Corp.'s MoneyGram Payment Systems service between the U.S. and 150 countries by mid-May, the company said. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company has allowed customers of its Mexican stores to receive money transfers for two years.
July 24, 1997
Lennox and Inglewood post offices are offering Dinero Seguro, a program that allows patrons to wire money to Mexico more easily. The United States Postal Service has made Dinero Seguro, which means "Secure Money," available at 230 post offices in Los Angeles in recent weeks. The service, previously available at a limited number of locations, will be available at more than 400 post offices in the county by the end of summer, spokesman David Mazer said.
February 24, 2004 | From Bloomberg News
Beacon Hill Service Corp., which prosecutors say moved $9 billion through bank accounts at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., was found guilty by a Manhattan jury on four counts of transmitting money without a license. The verdict came after a five-day trial that included testimony about the role of J.P. Morgan in moving the money, some of which was tied to drug trafficking, official corruption and organized crime, according to prosecutors. J.P.
January 8, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
Federal prosecutors have dropped complaints against six Detroit-area men charged with transferring millions of dollars to Yemen, a Justice Department spokesman said. The complaints against the six were dropped because indictments were not expected imminently, but the investigation is continuing into the transfers that investigators believe amounted to $50 million a year, the spokesman said.
March 22, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
Two Iraqis have been arrested for allegedly operating an unlicensed money transferring business suspected of sending more than $7 million to Iraq, authorities said. The affidavit on Maitham Abdulla Jaber Al Samar, 39, and his brother Qassim Abdulla Jaber Al Samar, 38, both of Denver, did not specify where the money came from or how it was spent. Maitham Al Samar has a business called Alrafden Transactions, and Qassim Al Samar has a tobacco sales company called Wholly Smokes, authorities said.
Citibank, the nation's largest bank, will soon begin a service for Vietnamese-Americans in California to transfer money directly for relatives living in Vietnam or for humanitarian purposes. The program, restricted to transfers of $300 per family every three months, is considered the first such service provided by a major U.S. bank since the end of the Vietnam War. The Citibank program is scheduled for introduction in Southern California next month.
June 13, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown has backed off his proposal to tie some money for California's public universities to such requirements as improving graduation rates, enrolling more low-income students and freezing tuition for four years. University of California and California State University officials fought Brown's carrot-and-stick approach to higher education, which the governor had embedded in his budget plan. Brown wanted to steadily increase funding for universities over the next four years as long as they met specific conditions - ensuring more students finish their degrees on time, enrolling more transfers from community colleges and other measures - and to withhold the money if tuition was raised.
April 2, 2013 | Marc Lifsher and Jessica Guynn
California is applying money-transfer laws to high-tech start-ups and others in the business of moving funds, subjecting them to the same strict regulations and heavy scrutiny as financial service companies. And that has some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs crying foul. The regulations, they say, are hobbling their ability to develop new Internet technologies that, like PayPal Inc. and Square Inc., make fast, secure payments with smartphones and tablets. FaceCash, a Palo Alto company that developed a mobile payment system using facial-recognition software, has sued the state in federal court on claims that licensing requirements discriminate against the company and hinder interstate commerce.
February 3, 2012 | By Matea Gold, Washington Bureau
President Obama's first campaign ad of 2012 decried "secretive billionaires attacking" him through conservative nonprofit groups that do not reveal their contributors. But two Democratic nonprofit groups that do not disclose their donors made payments last year to their affiliated "super PACs," a tactic that can be used to undermine transparency. Priorities USA Action, a group started by two former Obama White House aides, accepted $215,000 from its tax-exempt arm, Priorities USA, for "operating expenses," according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.
June 22, 2011 | By Brendan Case
Money-transfer company MoneyGram International Inc. had a near-death experience as one of the more unlikely victims of the mortgage meltdown. Pummeled by losses starting in 2007 on mortgage-related investments, it stayed afloat when private equity fund Thomas H. Lee Partners and Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs Group Inc. swooped in, provided an infusion of cash and took control in 2008. Shareholders in MoneyGram, based in Dallas, recently approved a deal that analysts say is a step toward the eventual exit of Lee Partners and Goldman.
May 24, 2010 | By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
To his defenders, Mahmoud Reza Banki is the accomplished son of Iranian American parents, with degrees from UC Berkeley and Princeton and a business acumen that made him the logical person in the family to trust with more than $3 million. "My family is unusually generous to me, certainly beyond what is customary among U.S. families," Banki, 33, told federal authorities after they asked about the hundreds of thousands of dollars dropping into his bank account. Banki said the money came from his cousin Ali in Tehran.
February 12, 2010 | By Nicholas Riccardi
Western Union will pay $94 million to settle a long-running legal battle with the state of Arizona over whether the company allowed its money transfers to be used to send proceeds from human trafficking and drug smuggling to Mexico, officials announced Thursday. The settlement includes $50 million that will help law enforcement operations in border states fight money laundering. Western Union has also agreed to beef up its internal procedures to stop its wire transfers from being exploited.
Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday helped launch a low-fee money-transfer service to Mexico for credit union members in California and Nevada, bringing more competition to a multibillion-dollar industry that has been criticized for high and allegedly hidden costs. Beginning this week, 620 credit unions in California and 30 in Nevada will be able to offer money-transfer service to Mexico's largest credit union for a flat $6.
A 20-year-old hacker who pleaded guilty in November to tapping into high-security NASA computers was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of trying to transfer money through Western Union using stolen credit card numbers. Jason Allen Diekman of Mission Viejo, who already faced up to 16 years in prison, tried three times in March to make the wire transfers, according to the affidavit filed in support of the case.
August 26, 2009 | Ken Ellingwood
Cash remittances from Mexicans living abroad keep tumbling, with a second-quarter drop of 17.9% compared with the same period last year, officials said Tuesday. Mexico's central bank said remittances for April through June fell to $5.6 billion, continuing a downward trend that has lasted more than a year. The money transfers are off 12% during the first six months of 2009, compared with the first half of 2008. The latest report was no surprise, but it spelled more gloomy news for Mexico's limping economy, which has been hammered by declining oil earnings, a sharp drop in exports and a flu crisis during the spring that put a big dent in tourism.
April 14, 2009 | Mark Silva and Tracy Wilkinson
The Obama administration announced Monday that it would permit unlimited travel to Cuba by Cuban Americans and lift limits on transfers of money to relatives on the Caribbean island while keeping in place many long-standing U.S. trade restrictions. Obama's moves make good on a campaign promise and seek to take advantage of shifting winds in Havana as Raul Castro, who formally took over from his ailing brother Fidel a year ago, adopts limited reforms.
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