AfterDawn: Tech news

Poker sites get smackdown from FBI

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 16 Apr 2011 3:03 User comments (12)

Poker sites get smackdown from FBI Owners of three massive online poker companies have been charged today with fraud, and accused of "tricking" banks into processing multiple billions of dollars worth of online gambling proceeds.
Among 11 people arrested are the site owners of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker, three major player in American online gambling.

Each is charged with violating U.S. anti-Internet gambling laws.

Prosecutors are also seeking $3 billion, after filing civil money laundering charges.

Each of the sites are located overseas but attract players from the U.S.

In addition, the domain names for the companies have been seized and the sites shutdown.

So far, only two of the men have been arrested, and one more is expected to turn himself in today. The other eight are outside of the U.S.

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12 user comments

116.4.2011 3:32
Unverified new user

what happened actually ?

216.4.2011 11:02
Unverified new user

Originally posted by manasturcluj:
what happened actually ?
Did you even read the news article? o_O

316.4.2011 11:28

I was just thinking about getting on pokerstars a couple days ago. I am pretty sure I have at least $20 or $30 still in my account. I am sure I can kiss that cash goodbye. Not that big of a loss but for all those people that hundreds or thousands this will be devastating news. With casinos desperate to attract more people because of falling numbers, I wonder if this seizure has anything to do with that.

416.4.2011 11:57

Well that settles it, my pokerstars account shall be closed lol.

516.4.2011 12:25

I haven't even used my poker stars account in years

616.4.2011 14:08

Here's a better explanation of what's happened apart from i assume the US Gov doesn't get their cut since it's an overseas gambling site basicly protecting their own casino's is the way i see it

Federal authorities unsealed indictments against the operators of some of the world’s largest online gambling sites and moved Friday to seize their U.S domains.

The U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, charged Isai Scheinberg, the founder of PokerStars, and Raymond Bitar, the founder of Full Tilt Poker, and nine others of fraudulently scheming to thwart a 2006 antigaming law that prohibits U.S. banks from processing internet wagers and payments.

The indictments seek the return of $3 billion in allegedly ill-gotten gains. The charges come amid renewed efforts to legalize online gaming in the United States, and as U.S. authorities increasingly invoke asset-forfeiture statutes to seize the American online domains of sites deemed illicit.

Those indicted on Friday are accused of masking payments from U.S. gamblers (.pdf) in the form of jewelry, golf balls and flower sales — all in a bid to circumvent the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The top-level domain seizures include PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UB and Absolute Poker. Some of the sites were still rendering Friday afternoon.

Defendant John Campos, vice president of SunFirst Bank of Utah, is accused of processing gambling revenues in exchange for a $10 million “investment,” according to the indictment. Campos is expected to make his first court appearance Monday.

“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,” the U.S. attorney said in a statement.

Two of the world’s biggest online gaming houses — PokerStars, based in the Isle of Man, and Full Tilt, based in Ireland — account for about $1.4 billion in revenues, Forbes said.

Scheinberg and Bitar have not been arrested and are located outside the United States. The government said it was working with foreign governments and Interpol to secure their arrests and assets.

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This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Apr 2011 @ 14:10

716.4.2011 14:29 Sucks for people who had accounts...

Carpe Noctem

816.4.2011 20:08

Why would anyone trust on-line gambling of any kind anyways?
It's the same with phone gambling.
If you're not there to see the cards turn or the dice thrown in real-time then why would anyone be surprised if it turns out it's a massive fraud?
Sure, a handful of 'winners' to encourage the saps but really, come on, be serious ffs.....

Fools and their money, springs to mind.

917.4.2011 4:01
Unverified new user

I am a gambler, and had i attended the crucifiction of the Lord Jesus Christ, when they were casting lots for his clothes, i would have went "ALL IN."

1017.4.2011 10:33

Originally posted by manasturcluj:
what happened actually ?

1117.4.2011 20:48

Wow, will I get my free chips back? :D

Oh, Im sorry... Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?

1219.4.2011 18:03

If the US wouldn't outlaw gambling, these sites would most likely be run here in the states. More jobs and more money moving around in the US economy and this sub-economy wouldn't exist. I honestly don't understand the problem people have here in the US with gambling. I avoid gambling for the most part because I feel it's a tax on the mathmatically impaired (Casinos wouldn't be in business if the odds were in favor of the patrons), but I don't begrudge anyone if they want to.

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