Ping Express money transfer company pleads guilty to failure to stop money laundering including funds to Africa

Ping Express U.S. LLC, a company that transferred millions of dollars from the U.S. to Africa has admitted that it failed to properly guard against money laundering, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham announced. In less than three years, the company transmitted more than $167 million overseas, including $160 million transmitted to Nigeria. The company admitted it failed to seek sufficient details about the sources or purposes of the funds involved in the transactions, or the customers initiating the transmissions. Three individuals – including two of Ping’s top customers – previously pleaded guilty to transmitting illegally-derived funds through Ping. 

The company – which was licensed to transmit money but was not licensed to conduct currency exchange – charged U.S. customers a fee to remit money to beneficiaries in Nigeria and other African nations.

Ping admitted that it conducted money transmission business in states in which it was not licensed to do so, including Nevada, New Jersey, Utah, West Virginia, and Connecticut. The company claimed to have software that could detect and deter transmissions initiated in “unlicensed” states, but in reality, it admitted, the program didn’t function. In its summaries to state regulators, Ping chose to include a column labeled “IP Location,” but only recorded states in which Ping was properly licensed: Texas, Maryland, Georgia, Washington, and Washington, DC.

Homeland Security Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation, assisted by the Texas Department of Banking.  Assistant U.S. Attorney John de la Garza is prosecuting the case.

JEFFREY NEWMAN IS A WHISTLEBLOWER LAWYER WITH THE FIRM NEWMAN & SHAPIRO. HE CAN BE REACHED AT JNEWMAN@NEWMANSHAPIRO.COM