Mansef, U.S. in Settlement Talks Over $6.4M in Seized Funds

ATLANTA — Federal authorities say they are actively engaged in settlement talks with Mansef Inc. and its Premium Services Inc. division over the seizure of $6.4 million seized by the Secret Service.

Mary Kruger, an assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta, said that both parties are seeking a 30-day extension to come up with terms of a final resolution, "but as of today’s date have not yet reached the terms of a final resolution."

Kruger has asked for an extension of discovery period that would run through much of December.

"An extension of the discovery period will allow the parties to complete settlement discussions without incurring additional costs," Kruger said in a motion to the court. "Additionally, the parties respectfully request that the time to file motions for summary judgment be extended until 30 days after the end of the discovery period, to and including Jan. 28."

Mansef's fight for seized funds began late last year after it set up Atlanta-based Premium Services to facilitate payments from its third-party credit card processors into the accounts and to allow the company to remit funds out of two checking accounts to its U.S. vendors.

The Secret Service claims in court documents that Premium Services was not registered with the federal Treasury Department nor with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance as a money-transmitting business.

Federal authorities noted in court documents that for three months last year Premium Services received $9.4 million in wire transfers from various sources and that much of the funds originated overseas in countries such as Israel, considered by law enforcement to be at high risk for money-laundering activity.

U.S. authorities claim that the funds in two accounts are forfeitable under 18 U.S.C. § 981 (a)(1)(A) as property involved in or traceable to a transaction in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1960, which prohibit’s unlicensed money-transmitting businesses.

Mansef and Premium Services deny they are in that line of business. Mansef earlier this year was sold to new owners, which spun off the company as Manwin Inc.