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Online Poker: Barney Frank Appalled by US Attorney Actions

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/31/2009
Barney Frank

Congressman Barney Frank has expressed outrage over actions taken by the US Attorneys Office in the Southern District of New York in recent months.  In June, that office seized nearly $40 million in funds from two of the world's largest online poker rooms.

"I have been following them and I'm appalled by them," the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee told Gambling911.com's Jenny Woo this past week.   "Sometimes when I talk about trying to appeal this (online gambling prohibition), people say, ‘Oh well.  What are you worried about?  They're not enforced.'  I think that (the US Attorney's actions) is an outrageous example.  I've complained to the justice department.  It is persecution - you know - we're told that we don't have enough people, judges, prosecutors, etc to enforce the laws.  The great weights of effort are just outrageous."

Initially the US Attorney's office ordered the seizure warrants sealed, however, a Motion to Intervene filed by Costigan Media, the parent company of Gambling911.com, resulted in a positive ruling to have much of the court documents unsealed with the exception of names and information pertaining to an ongoing investigation.  The US Attorney's office is required to notify the New York Circuit Court several days prior to any upcoming indictments as to ensure Gambling911.com and other media gain access to such information. 

"I'm very disappointed," Frank said.  "The Obama administration's argument has been in part, ‘Well we inherited this case.'  But that's not good enough.  I intend to pursue trying to get them to adopt a newer and much more sensible policy.  They don't have to do this."

The matter has already resulted in one indictment.  Douglas Rennick, the Canadian owner of Account Services, a processor whose funds were among those seized, was indicted last month for alleged money laundering.  Information related to Rennick has since been unsealed in the affidavit warrant as per the honorable Judge Laura Taylor Swain's ruling in favor of Costigan Media's Motion to Intervene.

Prior to the indictment, Rennick had filed an action in a San Diego court to have some of the seized funds returned.  Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller denied the bid by lawyers for Rennick's company and the Poker Players Alliance, which had filed an Amicus brief on Account Services behalf, to return the money.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

 

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