MoneyGram hit with $18 million fine for looking the other way while consumers got scammed

MoneyGram International, Inc., has agreed to pay $18 million to settle federal charges that the money transfer service allowed itself to be a conduit for con artists who allegedly bilked people out of tens of millions of dollars.

The money will be used to help consumers recoup some of their losses, the Federal Trade Commission said. MoneyGram is also being required to install an anti-fraud program and monitor its agents, the FTC said.

According to the FTC, between 2004 and 2008, MoneyGram agents helped criminals make away with $84 million wired to Canada and around the U.S.

Having money sent by a wire transfer service is a common method used in a variety of scams, mainly those requiring an upfront payment to participate. Consumers likely lost considerably more, the FTC said.