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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Online gambling payments busted

Federal prosecutors reported on Feb. 28, 2012, that four Canadian men were indicted for running an illegal online sports gambling business and conspiring to launder money through payment processing. The next day, the FBI noted in a separate case that an individual who worked with online poker companies pleaded guilty to money laundering, fraud and gambling charges.

The four Canadians indicted were Calvin Ayre, James Philip, David Ferguson and Derrick Maloney – owners of Bodog Entertainment Group S.A. The indictment alleges Bodog moved money from accounts in Switzerland, England, Malta, Canada and elsewhere to pay winning U.S. gamblers. The prosecutors said more than $100 million was sent by wire and check to gamblers in the United States.

The United States seized the Bodog.com website domain name. The defendants each face up to five years in prison for operating an illegal gambling business and up to 20 years in prison for money laundering. Bodog.com faces fines of up to $500,000 on each of the two counts.

"Internet gambling, along with other types of illegal e-commerce, is an area of great interest to IRS Criminal Investigation," said Eric Hylton, the Acting IRS Special Agent in Charge. Laundering money from [an] illegal activity such as illegal Internet gambling is a crime. Regardless of how the money changes hands – via cash, check, wire transfers or credit cards – and regardless of where the money is stored – in a United States financial institution or an offshore bank – we will trace the funds."

FBI crackdown

In the second gambling-related event, Ryan Lang admitted to conspiring with senior executives of online poker sites to launder money, commit fraud and other gambling offenses by duping banks into processing illegal gambling transactions. Ryan admitted he worked with various payment processors to use electronic checks to transfer funds to and from U.S. customer bank accounts. To do this Lang said he set up phony shell companies to hide from banks that the transactions were actually illegal gambling proceeds.

Lang, a Canadian citizen, faces a prison sentence of up to 30 years. Five other defendants named in a superseding indictment pleaded guilty to similar charges and are awaiting sentencing. Two more defendants, Chad Elie and John Campos, elected to go to trial which is scheduled to begin April 9, 2012. end of article

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