Wednesday, April 20, 2011

U.S. Department of Justice Seizes Major Online Poker Sites

By Dan Cypra
Poker News Daily
Friday, April 15, 2011

In what has been a lively afternoon in the online poker world, the Federal Government has seized the domain names belonging to PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UB.com, and Absolute Poker. Poker News Daily has learned that PokerStars, the world’s largest site, has ceased taking action from the United States.

According to a statement from the Justice Department, the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker have been charged with “bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses.” In addition, “restraining orders were issued against more than 75 bank accounts utilized by the Poker Companies and their payment processors, and five internet domain names used by the Poker Companies to host their illegal poker games were seized.”

Visiting any of the four major online poker sites yields a message that reads in part, “This domain name has been seized by the FBI pursuant to an arrest warrant in rem obtained by the United States Attorney’s Office 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.”

The new home page of PokerStars, Full Tilt, UB.com, and Absolute Poker adds that violating such laws can result in up to five years behind bars and a fine of $25,000. Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, commented in the Justice Department statement, “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.”

The statement discusses the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) five years ago and revealed, “Because U.S. banks and credit card issuers were largely unwilling to process their payments, the Poker Companies allegedly used fraudulent methods to circumvent federal law and trick these institutions into processing payments on their behalf.”

Read the rest of the article.

For further reading:
"Bitcoin, intermediaries, and information control", Jerry Brito, April 20, 2011
"Surprisingly Free: Gavin Andresen on Bitcoin", Jerry Brito, April 19, 2011
"Bitcoin: Imagine a net without intermediaries", Jerry Brito, April 16, 2011
"Daniel Tzvetkoff Purportedly Behind Online Poker Indictments", Dan Cypra, Poker News Daily, April 15, 2011
"U.S. Government Seizes eWalletXpress Funds", Brett Collson, Poker News Daily, November 28, 2010
"Internet Gambling Payment Processor Arrested in Las Vegas", Dan Cypra, Poker News Daily, April 17, 2010
"Online Poker Payment Processor Indicted in New York", Tom Jenkins, Poker News Daily, August 6, 2009

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