The DoJ on Friday seized PokerStars.com, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, along with issuing criminal indictments against 11 individuals they say either ran or processed funds for the businesses.
“In addition to the individual charges of bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling, the feds seized five domains and issued restraining orders against 75 bank accounts in 14 countries allegedly used to process payments. The U.S. attorney also is seeking $3 billion in damages, and sentenecs for the defendants of up to 30 years in prison plus million dollar fines.” AVN reported.
A Department of Justice notice was there in place of the normal access page. While online gambling has been illegal in the United States for five years under the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) that prohibited online gambling sites to operate in the US and financial institutions from transferring money to or from any online gambling operation, there has been a push to legalize it recently.
“These defendants, knowing full well that their business with U.S. customers and U.S. banks was illegal, tried to stack the deck,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk. “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.”
According to Australia’s Courier-Mail, however, Friday’s action may actually have been the result of an insider who talked rather than face a possible life sentence in prison. The 29-year-old Tzvetkoff, “who had been facing 75 years jail in the U.S., has done a deal with prosecutors which has seen him freed on bail and living in a secret New York location,” the paper reported.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, former FBI agent Harold Copus, after reviewing the details of the case, said, ”He’s turned the corner, seen the light and is co-operating.”