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Excerpt from various News Orgs, then my opinion of this situation follows them;
(Reuters) – The owners of three of the largest Internet poker companies operating in the United States were accused on Friday of tricking regulators and banks into processing billions of dollars of illegal Internet gambling proceeds. Eleven people including the owners of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars were charged with violating U.S. anti-Internet gambling laws, according to charges filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. The charges are part of a crackdown on Internet gambling in the United States, where it has been illegal since 2006.
The U.S. Department of Justice released a press release on the indictment, and in it, 11 defendants are named: Isai
Scheinberg, Raymond Bitar, Scott Tom, Brent Beckley, Nelson Burtnick,
Paul Tate, Ryan Lang, Bradley Franzen, Ira Rubin, Chad Elie, and John Campos.
Scheinberg and Tate are identified in the indictment as representing
PokerStars, Bitar and Burtnick of representing Full Tilt Poker and Tom
and Beckley of representing Absolute Poker. Lang, Rubin, Franzen and
Elie are identified as people who allegedly ran payment processors
Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits. Moreover, as we allege, in their zeal to circumvent the gambling laws, the defendants also engaged in massive money laundering and bank fraud. Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like simply because they can’t bear to be parted from their profits.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge JANICE K. FEDARCYK said: “These defendants, knowing full well that their business with U.S. customers and U.S. banks was illegal, tried to stack the deck. They lied to banks about the true nature of their business. Then, some of the defendants found banks willing to flout the law for a fee. The defendants bet the house that they could continue their scheme, and they lost.”
My opinion? if you are a regular listener of my show, you know I warned people 6 months ago to now to not leave too much money on the sites. I knew this was coming based on my talk with a Lawyer connected to The DOJ. To be clear, neither myself or Mike had anya PRIOR first hand knowledge this would occur.. What can we expect now?
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First off, in spite of what FTP and PS says, this does effect players beyond The USA. 76 Bank accounts have been frozen by The Feds in 14 countries world wide. Simply put, these sites cannot meet any cash out demands because these assets, along with more assets, are frozen and will be frozen. I expect legit payment processors to ” run for cover” and distance themselves from FTP and PS. Now FTP issued a statement claiming they beleive online poker is legal, as do ” some of the best legal minds in The USA”.. Well, SO DO I!! but this is not about online poker in and of itself, but offshore sites engaging in alleged money laundering and fraud, in order to CIRCUMVENT THE UIEGA, tricking banks to process these payments, when The UIEGA clearly states it is illegal for them to do so, WILLINGLY, KNOWLINGLY!
In my opinion, the only chance FTP and PS has to beat this case, is for their attorneys to argue that the UIEGA in and of itself is unconstitutional. The Federal Reserve is supposed to be the oversite with jurisdiction. How can a privately held institution like The Fed have this kind of authority? Also, it appears to be a violation of “equal protection under the law” Article 9, I beleive. Why were some Sports betting and horse racing sites in The USA and abroad allowed to have their payment processors process these bets, wheras online Poker sites were not? Having said all of this, it is likely you will not see your money ever again. It will be seized by The USA GOV, just like they seize alleged Drug dealers money and possesions. I also beleive The USA will claim that the very servers themselves the sites use to run the games, were built and maintained from “illegal and illicit gains”, therefore they will seize those servers with the aid of foreign countries where the servers reside, and effective shut down FTP and PS indefinetly world wide. I have more to say in the coming days over this issue so stay tuned!