Monday, September 24th 2018

FBI Levels Charges Against Three Online Poker Sites

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

A major crackdown on online gambling has taken place in the US, led by the FBI and US Attorney’s Office. The charges leveled against the Internet sites range from bank fraud, illegal gambling, and laundering billions of dollars in relation to illegal gambling profits, according to an article from USA Today.

The FBI mentions 11 defendants it has indicted on these charges facing up to 20 years in prison. The most salient among the Internet gambling industry are PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. The swift actions of these investigative agencies led to the seizure of five Internet domains as well as restraining orders against 75 bank accounts set up by the sites to process payments. The US attorney’s office has gone further and would level $3 billion in punitive damages against these sites.

In the same article from the USA Today, the defendants, according to a statement by US Attorney Preet Bharara, deliberately created an illegal fraud scheme intended to deceive various US banks, and additionally bribing others to launder billions in illegal gambling proceeds. Specifically, the defendants are allegedly in violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act originally passed in 2006.

In response to the charges, the companies argue that they operated outside the jurisdiction of the US law, as they are officially ‘offshore’ companies. However, the feds note that the companies’ involvement with US banks makes them prosecutable under US law. Additionally, according to the feds, the acts of laundering deliberately undertaken by the companies to disguise the nature of the transactions are the most damning for the companies. The companies allegedly falsified the nature of the payments to hundreds of fictitious online merchants who were purportedly receiving payment for merchandise such as “jewelry and golf balls.” Then, according to the FBI the poker companies deceived banks into processing roughly a third of what the players would pay to gamble on the site.



Article by Andrew Timm

The views expressed are the subjective opinion of the article's author and not of

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Tags: charges, fbi, online poker


Jonas Kjenstad (April 18, 2011 3:27 AM)
Well, first off, thanks for dropping a line uttered by Matt Damon in the movie Rounders nearly verbatim without giving any credit to the writers. Second, you're really missing the point altogether. The point of the article is to elucidate the charges against online poker sites with regard to money laundering schemes and deception perpetrated by these organizations. The author discusses a legal issue, and draws no parallels whatsoever between online poker and stock trading. It is most likely posted on this site, because it deals with an issue concerning business, specifically e-commerce. It just seems like a poor investment of your time to refute an argument that wasn't even being made.
Glen Pearson (April 17, 2011 1:25 AM)
Poker is not gambling.If poker is gambling then so is online stock trading or trading in general.Why do the same people keep ending up at final tables,time and time again?What are they the luckiest people in the world?NO!In the game of poker you measure the equity involved in any given situation based on all of the available information you have at your disposal and act accordingly.Just as investments in the stock market do not always yield the returns expected or not at all in many cases, poker to has this trait.Now, you may say, what about the people who do not know how to play and are blowing their money gambling.Well to you I say, ANYONE who invest in anything in life without calculating the risk to reward ratio properly and accounting for all the variables at their disposal is GAMBLING.In that sense poker is gambling and so is everything else you do.What about children who dream of becoming pro football players?Should we tell them that they are not aloud to gamble with their physical well being or for that matter what about the cost of playing football that is spent and more times then not wasted because of an injury down the line or lack of discipline and fading interest.Adults should be able to measure risk by themselves and they do not need the help of the government.Now if you are talking about slot machines then yes I agree get rid of them as they are BUILT to make the player lose or how about state lotteries?Poker is a game of 100% skill.If you invest in the correct situation you WILL make money playing against weaker opponents.This is no different than any other sport!I did not see any of you stepping in to save Buster Douglas from Mike Tyson when the odds were 50 to 1.NO!You didn't because you believed it was the mans right to wager his body against the will of another man.I hope this has opened the eyes of some.Thank you for taking the time to read this, regardless of what your opinion is.Remember it is your duty to protect the freedoms of others as one day your number may be called and will I be there to stand for you if you will not for me?
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