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Friday
Apr152011

Internet Poker Companies Indicted for Fraud, Money Laundering

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -– The owners and founders of the three largest online gambling sites in the United States have been indicted and charged with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offenses.

Eleven individuals were charged over their involvement running PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker for violating the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

According to a federal indictment, the owners of the companies sought ways to get around restrictions placed on U.S. banks that prohibited them from handling financial transactions connected to online gambling.

Isai Scheinber and Paul Tate of PokerStars, Scott Tom and Brent Beckley of Absolute Poker, and Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick of Full Tilt Poker, the indictment claims, engaged in a scheme "to deceive United States banks and financial institutions into processing billions of dollars in payments for the poker companies, by, among other things, arranging for the money received from United States gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants and other non-gambling businesses." The indictment alleges the poker-company owners "relied on highly compensated third party payment processors ... who lied to United States banks about the nature of the financial transactions they were processing and covered up those lies through the creation of phony corporations and websites to disguise payments to the poker companies."

The indictment identifies four individuals as the payment processors -- Ryan Lang, Ira Rubin, Bradley Franzen and Chad Elie.

The allegedly phony websites included on-line flower delivery shops and pet supply stores that would handle credit card payments to get funds from U.S. customers.

The 52-page indictment also alleges that conspirators used electronic checks to try and disguise their payments.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio