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A 39-year-old woman was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison earlier this month for operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business that wired more than $15 million overseas. The case represents the first conviction of its kind in the District under federal statute, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Aissatou Pita Barry, of Silver Spring, Md., pleaded guilty last year to operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Barry incorporated Guinex International in the District in 1999, but she did not obtain a business license from the District or register the wire-transfer company with the Treasury Department. Guinex conducted more than 65,000 transactions for about 5,000 customers, charging a 10 percent commission to wire funds to various countries, including Gambia, Sierra Leone, Hong Kong, England, France, India, and Turkey. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Guinex employees never asked customers to provide any information about the source of the monies they were transmitting. At Barry’s Nov. 6 sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina also ordered that $273,627 seized from Barry or Guinex be forfeited to the government.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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