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U.S. Secret Service Targeted Everleaf Poker Payment Processor in Washington State

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Feb/15/2012
U.S. Secret Service Targeted Everleaf Poker Liechtenstein/U.S. Payment Processor

The news website Diamond Flush Poker confirmed that the U.S. Secret Service field office out of Seattle, Washington had been monitoring a payment processor utilized by Everleaf Poker since early 2009. 

The Seattle entry into the investigation into online gambling payment processors is nothing new.

In October and December 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle seized funds from bank accounts of Arrow Checks Inc., Blue Lake Capital Management and Logistics, and Secure Money Inc. as alleged proceeds of various Internet gaming operators, including Pokerstars, UltimateBet.com, and BetUS.com.

Washington State makes it a Class C felony to gamble online, the only state to have such a law on the books.  The Affidavit for a Warrant to Seize Personal Property Subject to Civil Forfeiture makes it clear that this is a Washington State action and that state law specifically prohibits online gambling (as seen below). 

We would note that around the time this investigation got underway, online poker rooms such as PokerStars began prohibiting play from Washington State.  Gambling911.com routinely warns its readers living in Washington State that they could face criminal prosecution for placing bets over the Internet.  This is especially true when Washington State schools or professional sports teams are taking part in important games. 

Of interest is that the Affidavit for a Warrant to Seize Personal Property Subject to Civil Forfeiture specifically notes it is not illegal for jurisdictions where online gambling is legal to send monies to another jurisdiction where such activity is legal and this will become vitally important once individual U.S. states begin legalizing Internet poker, which is expected to occur in the coming months. 

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Diamond Flush Poker broke down the case against Everleaf’s Liechtenstein-based processor

 

DiamondFlushPoker can confirm, that indeed, the United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, has taken action against Everleaf Gaming, via one of their payment processors, Causash Establishment. Causash is apparently the company name that was used to transfer funds for ELG to/from a U.S. bank. Causash is related to, or created by, a Liechtenstein company named Juricon Trehand Anstalt, which is in the business of “setting up domestic and foreign companies, foundations and trusts, to safeguard and administer private assets, as well as for commercial, financial, or property transactions, accounting, reporting and auditing, financial, economic and tax consultancy”.

Beginning in at least February 2009, the a Task Force of the Secret Service field office in Seattle, Washington began tracking Everleaf transactions in and out of the U.S. By using undercover identities, agents opened accounts, deposited, played and withdrew from the network using U.S. bank accounts to follow the money trail. At least three ELG poker skins, www.PokerRoyal.com, www.everleafpoker.com, and www.RaiderPoker.com were included in the investigation. Two of the three domains referenced, are currently not in use.

According to court documents, a U.S. bank account used by Causash rarely held funds, but rather, almost immediately converted the foreign currency to U.S. dollars and transferred the funds to other bank accounts. Between January 2010 and August 2011, Causash sent a total of 273 wire transfers to a Bank of New York account, totaling $ 734,835.00. A warrant was issued in October 2011, commanding Bank of N.Y. to seize wire transfers to/from Causash via the specified bank account, over a two-week period. No wires during the period in question were seized, but pursuant to a second amended warrant, an account balance of $ 27,465.93 was seized and forwarded to the U.S. Secret Service.

It was during this time that Gambling911.com pointed out the Everleaf Gaming Network had quietly stopped allowing withdrawals via bank wire. 

Diamond Flush noted that another undercover agent opened an account in July of 2011, this time in Washington, D.C., via Western Union.  A month later, Everleaf sent a withdrawal to the agent via bank wire. 

 

From Diamond Flush: 

According to court documents, many transactions were followed during the course of the investigation. Among the recipients of withdrawals back to the U.S., the documents name Andrew Robl, a Las Vegas based online poker pro. Robl reportedly received $ 84,926.00 between August and September of 2010 from Causash. In Washington State, in addition to the withdrawals to the undercover officer, other individuals also received wire transfers. One individual, Miff Fagerlie, confirmed to authorities that the $ 3136.63 wired to Fagerlie in April and May 2010, represented funds being collected from playing poker at PokerRoyal.com

The probable cause to obtain the seizure warrants referenced above relied on charges of committing, aiding and abetting 18 U.S.Code 1960(a), Prohibition of unlicensed money transmitting businesses,18 U.S.Code 1084(a) Transmission of Wagering Information(The Wire Act), and 18 U.S.Code 1956(a)(1)(A)(i) and 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) Money Laundering.

The formal court document can be seen here.

Everleaf has ensured that all U.S. players funds remain safe.  The small online poker network made a decision to exit the U.S. market last week. 

The processor itself appears to be the target and not Everleaf per se. 

 

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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