$8 Million Poker Fund Seized by Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice is continuing to magnify its stance against illegal online gambling, this time focusing on the state of Washington, where internet gambling is officially criminalized by state law. The DOJ seized about $8 million from Washington financial institutions; money said to be filtering through online payment processors for the purpose of online gambling.
A number of payment processors are said to be involved, according to the report from Forbes Magazine and federal court filings dating back to December 2010. These include Arrow Checks, Secure Money, Etegrity Processing, Anaya Trading Solutions and Blue Lake Capital Management and Logistics, among others.
Arrow Checks is taking the brunt of the monetary seizure, responsible for $5.1 million of the funds pulled by the US government. Apparently a witness reported receiving a payout check from Arrow Checks, resulting from online poker winnings at PokerStars, to the Washington State task force in June. This kicked off an investigation surrounding $20 million worth of wire transfers through Arrow Checks at Bank of America.
The company is headed by Scott Seguin and Justin Sather. The court documents state that Arrow Checks is an unlicensed company, and that Seguin and Sather are in violation of the Federal Wire Act if 1961 because online (wireless) gambling is outlawed in the state of Washington.
US online gambling enthusiasts are becoming more and more pessimistic about their options for funding internet gambling accounts. In November, the website of eWalletXpress, a popular US payment option for online gamblers, posted a month-long “technical difficulties” message before finally revealing to their customers in December that the company was issued a warrant from authorities. The payment processor allowed their customers to request withdrawals from their accounts, but no other funding options would be available from that point on.
In June of 2010, 27,000 online poker players who trusted their monetary transfers to Allied Systems and Account Services found their funds seized by federal authorities, a grand total of $34 million through New York bank accounts. Ahmad Khawaja, owner of the online poker oriented payment processor, reached an agreement with US prosecutors to forfeit $13.3 million via civil suit before fleeing the country.
Likely more and more currently available methods of payment for American players of online poker and other gambling venues will be jumping on the band wagon to evacuate the US market. What does this mean for American online gamblers? We’ll just have to wait and see.