A company that transmits money to foreign countries was temporarily shut down by the state banking commissioner this month after remittances went missing, and a Brazilian businessman on the Vineyard said he will work to help collect refunds for Island residents who were caught unawares by the problem.
On April 10 the Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks issued a temporary cease and desist order against Global Money Remittance, a subsidiary of InterTransfers of Miami, Fla. Global Money has been licensed to operate in Massachusetts since April 2006.
Vineyard Grocer in Vineyard Haven, owned by Elio Silva, has been using the remittance service to wire money to Brazil for customers. Starting a week ago, several customers said their money did not reach intended recipients.
So far 30 Island residents have said that funds wired from Vineyard Grocer did not reach their intended destination. One landscaper from Minas Gerais, Brazil, who asked that his name not be used, said more than $6,000 is unaccounted for.
“I want somebody to help get the money back,” he said.
Mr. Silva said he hopes to do just that; he and eight other owners of stores where customers were affected are hiring an attorney to speed up paperwork in order to refund people their money. Global Money has said only outstanding consumer funds collected in a formal request letter would be refunded.
The way remittances work is somebody visits a store that offers the service and presents a passport and some money. Mr. Silva said customers usually wire $200 to $300 a few times a month. The fee at Vineyard Grocer is $10. Mr. Silva said it usually takes a few days for the money to show up on bank statements in Brazil.
From March through April 10, Global Money failed to transmit more than $230,000 to recipients in foreign countries, according to the Massachusetts Division of Banks. A representative of Global Money said they were aware of the failure to remit funds and that both Global Money and its parent company InterTransfers were in financial trouble.
On April 4, the state division of banks found out that Global Money failed to transmit funds from 102 Massachusetts customers. Global Money primarily transmits money from Massachusetts to Brazil. It transmitted nearly $35 million in 2012.
The InterTransfers website says: “Bureaucratic and legal requirements may cause some delays with the return of outstanding money transfers, but be assured that we are devoting all our energy to solve delays with the utmost urgency.” To find out the status of orders, customers can call 305-537-5500, extension 263. (O telefono de contato para clientes cujas remessas não foram completadas é 305-537-5500, extension 263).