U.S. authorities have named a Vancouver fintech called PacNet Group a “significant transnational criminal organization” and is seizing its U.S. assets.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) alleges the PacNet Group has been involved for years in criminal activity, including money laundering and facilitating mail fraud.
“PacNet has knowingly facilitated the fraudulent activities of its customers for many years, and today’s designations are aimed at shielding Americans and the nation’s financial system from the large-scale, illicit money flow that are generated by these scams against vulnerable individuals,” OFAC acting director John Smith said in a press release.
RCMP say they are aware of the U.S. actions, but have nothing to say about the case.
"The RCMP is aware of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) actions against the PacNet Group," said RCMP Spokesperson Cpl. Annie Delisle. "However, we cannot comment on this specific case as no arrests have been made in Canada."
The allegations have not been proven in a Canadian court.
PacNet lists its North American office location as the 4th Floor, 595 Howe Street Vancouver. At least one Pac-Net affiliate, Chexx Inc., has the same location.
The company could not be reached by phone, and some of the Canadians named as PacNet owners, directors or affiliates have not returned calls to Business in Vancouver.
Pac-Net is a third-party payment processor that provides an international payment processing service.
It has “a lengthy history of money laundering by knowingly processing payments on behalf of a wide range of mail fraud schemes that target victims in the United States and throughout the world,” according to the OFAC.
The Treasury department has named 12 people linked with PacNet, including a number of B.C. residents.
They include Rosanne Day, who is said to be president, board member and director of several PacNet subsidiaries.
In a 2010 interview with The Payers website, Day is described as the founder of PacNet. It started in Vancouver in 1994 as a cheque processing company, she said.
Another Canadian named is Marie Boivin, managing director of Accu-Rate Corp. in Ottawa. Paul Davis is named as the company’s president.
Boivin is not only a director for the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce – she is listed as the chamber’s chairperson, and was nominated Businesswoman of the Year by the Women's Business Network.
The OFAC alleges Accu-Rate, a PacNet affiliate, “facilitates illicit cash transaction on behalf of PacNet Europe’s check processing department.”
According to Boivin herself, she is the managing director and sole director of Accu-Rate, and she says her company has no relationship with PacNet.
In an email to Business in Vancouver, Boivin said her company is taking immediate steps to establish it is not connected with PacNet.
"We were very concerned to read about these allegations concerning PacNet and shocked to see Accu-Rate unfairly included by extension," she writes. "Neither Accu-Rate nor its management is aware of or has been involved in any way with the actions for which the PacNet Group is targeted."
Boivin said Accu-Rate would immediately appoint an auditing and accounting firm to act as monitor to oversee the company's operations until it can address the OFAC's allegations that it is affiliated with PacNet.
She added "we have engaged McMillan LLP to vigorously contest our inclusion in the Treasury Department’s actions against the PacNet Group of Vancouver."
Also named by the OFAC is Mary Ann Driscoll, managing director for a PacNet-linked company called Chexx Inc., with offices in Vancouver and Ireland. A message left for Driscoll at Chexx Inc. has not yet been returned.
Of the many affiliates PacNet has around the world, they include Counting House Service Ltd., which has an office in Vancouver.
Counting House is “owned or controlled” by Paul Davis, the OFAC says, and lists its directors as Donna Maria MacBain and Raffaella Ferrari, who are also said to be PacNet executives.