Update on F.B.I. Online Poker Crack Down

18 April 2011

Today if you go to pokerstars.com. ultimatebet.com, absolute poker.com or fulltilt.com and you will find a page from the FBI that says:

“This domain name has been seized be the F.B.I pursuant to an Arrest Warrant in Rem obtained by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing, or owning all or part of an illegal gambling business is a federal crime. (18 U.S.C. 1955)

For persons engaged in the business of betting or wagering, it is also a federal crime to knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling, credit, electronic fund transfers or checks. (31 U.S.C. 5363 & 5366)

Violations of these laws carry criminal penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

Properties, including domain names, used in violation of the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 1955 or involved in money laundering transactions are subject to forfeiture to the United States. (18 U.S.C. 981& 1955(d))”

In the fall out following, PokerStars stated the will guarantee players deposits and was operating business as usual outside the United States. Wynn Resorts however terminated their partnership agreement with PokerStars that was just agreed on in recent weeks.

So far 3 of the 4 poker companies have remained silent but Raymond Bitar, chief executive of Full Tilt, said yesterday he was surprised and disappointed by the charges and he looked forward to his exoneration.

Federal prosecutors also filed a civil lawsuit seeking $3 billion in money laundering penalties in what they say was disguising gambling transfers as purchases of items such as jewelry, gulf clubs and the like. A federal judge also issued a restraining order that locks up funds in the sites 76 bank accounts in 14 countries.

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