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Discussion Starter #1
A federal judge from Manhatton shut down the top online poker sites and put 74 restraining orders on banks. and is serving several indictments. I'm pissed. Poker is a game of skill not luck.
 

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Now come on...the Federal government never censors or monitors the internet..

D.J.
 

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), have today seized the domain names of the three largest online poker sites in the US – PokerStars.com, FullTiltPoker.com and AbsolutePoker.com (already offline – go visit! Ed.) – after charging eleven defendants, including the founders of the three sites – with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offenses.

The United States government also filed a civil money laundering and forfeiture complaint against the three poker companies, their assets and the assets of their payment processors. Restraining orders were also issued against more than 75 bank accounts utilized by the companies and their payment processors. A total of five Internet domain names used to host illegal poker games were also seized and shut down.

Elaborate Criminal Fraud Scheme

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara explains: “As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some US 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. Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like simply because they can’t bear to be parted from their profits.”

Stack the Deck, Bet the House – We’re gonna lose!

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K Fedarcyk also said: “These defendants, knowing full well that their business with US customers and US 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.”

The majority of online gambling has been illegal in the US since October 2006, when the government implemented the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, also making it illegal for Internet gambling sites to receive funds from US citizens. Most banks and payment aggregagtors in the US were unwilling to deal with the sites, who were operating offshore. So the poker companies tricked them instead …

Golf Balls

For example, defendants ISAI SCHEINBERG and PAUL TATE of PokerStars; RAYMOND BITAR and NELSON BURTNICK of Full Tilt Poker; and SCOTT TOM and BRENT BECKLEY of Absolute Poker, arranged for the money received from US 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 US 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.

Bogus Companies

To accomplish their fraud, the poker companies worked with an array of highly compensated “payment processors” – including defendants RYAN LANG, IRA RUBIN, BRADLEY FRANZEN and CHAD ELIE – who obtained accounts with US banks on behalf of the poker companies by whatever means they could. They lied to banks about the nature of their financial transactions and covered up those lies by, among other things, creating phony corporations and websites to disguise the payments. A document from PokerStars themselves admitted that they “received money from US gamblers through company names that strongly imply the transaction has nothing to do with PokerStars” and that PokerStars used “whatever company names the processor can get approved by the bank.”

Buying up the Bank

After US banks and financial institutions detected and shut down multiple fraudulent bank accounts used by the poker companies in late 2009, SCHEINBERG and BITAR developed a new processing strategy that wouldn’t involve lying to, but rather BUYING those banks.

PokerStars, FullTilt Poker and their payment processors persuaded the principals of a few small, local US banks facing financial difficulties, to engage and continue their payment processing in return for multi-million dollar investments in the banks.

For example, in September 2009, ELIE and others approached defendant JOHN CAMPOS, the Vice Chairman of the Board and part-owner of SunFirst Bank – a small, private bank based in Saint George, Utah – about processing Internet poker transactions. While expressing “trepidations,” CAMPOS allegedly agreed to process gambling transactions in return for a $10m investment in SunFirst Bank by ELIE and an associate, which would give them a more than 30% ownership stake in the bank. CAMPOS also requested – and received – a $20,000 “bonus” for his good work.

In an e-mail, one of ELIE’s associates boasted that they had “purchased” SunFirst Bank and that they “were looking to purchase a grand total of 3 or 4 more banks” to process their poker payments.

As the big game finally folds, the FEDs are seeking at least $3 billion in civil money laundering penalties and forfeiture from the poker companies and the defendants. In addition, the New York District Court has issued an order restraining approximately 76 bank accounts across 14 different countries.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
CEO of Party poker Calvin Ayre got arrested at JFK airport in in mid 2000 for operating his gaming sight and paid the government 300 million in legal fees and took his sight down in the US. At that time he was on one of the worlds richest peoples list. Fulltilt has more money than Bill Gates, Paul allen and warren buffet put together. No one really knows for sure how much they have because of the the way they run their business.
 

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Who would've thunk that such a thing would come out... You mean you don't want the gambling sites to have any sort of occasional assessment of their business ethics?
 

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AHHH, the land of the free...
 

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Are you guys saying it was ok for these guys to make hundreds of millions of dollars off of people like you, and then not pay any taxes or any of the other legal detritus that comes with earning a salary/running a business? You guys are all about people doing their part but these guys just took a big dump on every taxpayer and you think it's ok? Someone please explain that to me.
 

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VolFan said:
Are you guys saying it was ok for these guys to make hundreds of millions of dollars off of people like you, and then not pay any taxes or any of the other legal detritus that comes with earning a salary/running a business? You guys are all about people doing their part but these guys just took a big dump on every taxpayer and you think it's ok? Someone please explain that to me.
I'm with you. I figured it was only a matter of time, and the reason why I never did it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't think that its ok for these guys to to rip off the government. I just don't want to lose fulltilt all together.
 

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Yeah I kind of agree, with what has happened. Gov needs money, and there are billions of dollars that they are not getting a piece of. That money needs to go back into our economy so we can at least attempt to get out of this hole. The amount of money going out of these companies is probably less than a 1/4 of whats coming in. They know that stuff like this is going on everywhere, but now they know its time to stop looking away.

I'm sure they'll work out a deal soon, and you poker junkies can get your fix.
 

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So they shut down three? 9 more will take their place within a few weeks. Nevada has laws that allow for online gaming so we'll see what happens next. In the internet world dotcoms come and go but the only thing that really changes is what the front looks like.
 

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Got this email.

Dear John,

We have good news to report! Yesterday, the Department of Justice (DoJ) responded to the massive political and grassroots pressure generated by members of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) and is allowing U.S. players to access their funds from PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com in the near future.

PPA members sent more than 65,000 emails and letters since Tuesday April 20, 2011, and made thousands of phone calls to the DoJ, the Administration and Congress demanding access to the money in their online accounts as well as condemning the DoJ’s declaration of war on poker. To read our press release in response to DoJ’s releasing of players funds please click here.
However the fight isn’t over yet! The next two weeks your congressional delegation is back in their home states on recess. Please take a moment and call each of them in their local offices and tell them:

Sen. Mark Udall at (303) 650-7820
Sen. Michael Bennet at (303) 455-7600
Rep Name at Dist #


* You’re a voter, constituent and a proud poker player
* The Obama DoJ has taken away my rights to play poker -- please support my rights by co-sponsoring H.R. 1174, a bill that will license and regulate online poker
* This bill will bring the industry onshore creating countless jobs and billions in revenue without raising taxes
* Please support sensible regulation of online poker


PPA members have won a great victory by coming together and letting our elected officials know we will hold them accountable for their actions. We need to keep up the pressure so please act today!

Proud to play,

Senator Alfonse D’Amato
PPA Chairman
 

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The sad thing is Poker really is a game of skill. If it wasn't then there would be no winning players because you can't be lucky all the time.

Many of my friends have basically lost their job. I am glad I didn't quit my job to pursue poker full time. At one time I was very close to doing it.
 

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Last time I checked though you can only play 4 games at once on Bodog. I still may deposit just so I can play a little for fun but you certainly can't make any serious money playing only 4 games at once unless you play really high stakes.
 
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