Feds, Greenville Sheriff Report $2 Million Seized

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By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER - Associated Press


The Secret Service and the Greenville County Sheriff's Office tracked down and seized more than $2 million from a money laundering scheme tied to online poker operations, officials said Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said a months-long investigation uncovered two shell companies used to hide illegal gambling proceeds.

The two foreign-based companies sent more than $40 million into the U.S. and the money was tied to payouts to players in South Carolina and other states, Nettles said.

The fake investment firms were "shell companies used to transfer large amounts of money into the United States and to hide the true sources of their funds," Nettles said in a news release.

Nettles identified the two firms involved as Prime Investment LTD and Trading 24/7 LTD. He said they used various foreign banks to initiate monetary wire transfers "on behalf of entities engaging in dubious business activities."

In all, the Secret Service seized $2,151,532.

"One aspect of the investigation confirmed that Prime Investment LTD and Trading 24/7 LTD utilized a continuing scheme of deception to obscure the true source of the money in violation of federal laws which include bank fraud, money laundering and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act," Nettles said.

The operation tracked the scheme from October 2010 through February, Nettles said.

No other details of the operation were immediately disclosed.

Because of federal sharing provisions involving such seizures, Nettles said Greenville Sheriff Steve Loftis' office gets a check for $707,093 that will be used to support law enforcement in the area.