Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced a settlement with Dallas-based MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. on Thursday, resolving a multistate investigation which focused on complaints of consumers who used MoneyGram’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers.

“Con artists use a wide variety of schemes to persuade consumers to wire them money,” said Attorney General Tim Fox.  “These range from the heartless ‘grandparent or relative in distress’ scam in which a fraudster contacts a grandparent and falsely claims that money must be wired to assist with a grandchild’s medical or legal emergency, to lottery and contest scams in which consumers are told they have won a large sum of money but must first wire money to pay required taxes or fees before receiving their winnings.”

The settlement has two main components:  First, MoneyGram has agreed to maintain and continue to improve a comprehensive and robust anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent consumers from suffering financial losses as a result of these types of fraud induced wire transfers. Second, MoneyGram has agreed to pay a total of $13 million dollars to the states to fund a nationwide consumer restitution program and for the states’ costs and fees.

In addition, Montana’s Office of Consumer Protection expects to receive $20,000 payment to be used for operational expenses