Various investigating agencies worldwide are now zeroing in on a particular remittance company that caters not only to legitimate money senders but to North American online sports gambling mafia as well.
A highly reliable informant from the Philippine intelligence community told this columnist that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the International Police (Interpol) are sharing information over the names of big time online gambling syndicates in the United States and Central and South America, using the Philippines as their cover.
The intelligence official, who requested anonymity, explained how the gambling syndicates use the remittance company, with the approval of its owners here, to move millions of dollars from one continent to another in minutes.
Here’s how it works: An online sports bettor in North America will be given a choice where he can send his bets. The familiar remittance company, is one of them. The bettor will be given a specific recipient and address here in the Philippines where he can send the money.
The bettor then goes to one of the remittance offices in the US and sends his bet. A few minutes later, the illegal sports betting site will confirm that they have received his money and he can then proceed to make bets.
The money that the bettor in the US sent to the Philippines is just one of the thousands of transactions that goes through the remittance company, which is equivalent to millions of dollars a day.
My source said employees of the remittance company here will never see these transactions because no one will claim it in the Philippines. These transactions are forwarded to South America, particularly in Costa Rica, by the franchisee of the remittance company in Manila.
Four Filipinos are reportedly members of the international mafia.
Paging the NBI and CIDG!
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No refund from western Luzon
Days after the problems of money senders of Western Union came out in this corner, a dozen more complainants trooped to my office in Quezon City on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The most common complaint is the non-refund of their money that did not reach recipients.
A few of the complainants said they were given refunds but it took over a year before the remittance company admitted their mistake and sent them a check equivalent to the amount they lost.
One of them claims that she sent P3,000 to her mother in the province but her mom never got it even though Western Union insisted it arrived in the specified location. The company refused to disclose who got the money.
She was then told to file a complaint by writing or sending an e-mail to Australia’s Western Union office before the incident will be investigated.
She has been waiting for six months now and decided to abandon her request for a refund.
I’m sure the main office of Western Union in the United States is not aware of the inefficiency of its remittance centers here in the Philippines.