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Money laundering, bank fraud and other illegal gambling offences alleged

Federal authorities in New York have charged eleven defendants, including the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker , with bank fraud, money laundering and other illegal gambling offences, it was revealed when an indictment was unsealed Friday.

The United States filed a civil money laundering and in rem forfeiture complaint against the Poker Companies, their assets, and the assets of several payment processors for the Poker Companies. In addition, restraining orders were issued against more than 75 bank accounts; and five Internet domain names used by the Poker companies were seized.

It is alleged that "the defendants arranged for the money received from U.S. gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants purporting to sell merchandise such as jewelry and golf balls. Of the billions of dollars in payment transactions that the Poker Companies tricked U.S. banks into processing, approximately one-third or more of the funds went directly to the Poker Companies as revenue through the "rake" charged to players on almost every poker hand played online".

Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate (PokerStars), Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick (Full Tilt Poker), Scott Tom and Brent Beckley (Absolute Poker) are among those named in the indictment along with four payment processors, and the co-owner of a small private bank.

Preet Bharara , Manhattan U.S. Attorney said: "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".

"These defendants, knowing full well that their business with U.S. customers and U.S. banks was illegal, tried to stack the deck. They lied to banks about the true nature of their business. Then, some of the defendants found banks willing to flout the law for a fee. The defendants bet the house that they could continue their scheme, and they lost," commented Janice K. Fedarcyk , FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge.

Full details on the indictment can be viewed at http://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2011/manhattan-u.s.-attorney-c...

Source: InfoPowa News

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