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Feds Seize More Online Gambling Websites

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
May/23/2011
Feds Seize More Online Gambling Websites

More online gambling domains name has been seized by the US Justice Department.  It should be noted that many of the 10 domain names seized Monday are affiliated with one another.  Some funds have been seized. 

An indictment has been filed out of the US Attorney’s Officein the Northern District of Maryland. 

The charges are against the companies that run Bookmaker.com and BetED.com.  The websites seized all belonged to these two companies.  Bookmaker.com has close to 130 registered domain names.  BMX, the company that runs Bookmaker.com, is believed to have been charged as a result of one of these online sites doig business with a fake payment processing company set up in Atlantic City two years ago by federal agents.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Investigators launched such a processor — called "Linwood Payment Solutions Inc." — to unravel the Internet gambling web, giving it a website and a staff of Homeland Security Investigations agents tasked with gaining "person-to-person contact with top managers of gambling organizations," prosecutors said.
Agents claim that Linwood processed gambling transactions for the defendants using banks in Portugal, Malta, Panama, The Netherlands and the United States — more than 300,000 transactions in a two-year period worth more than $33 million. The accounts were seized along with the Web pages.

The indictments, returned late last month and unsealed Monday, are the result of a two-year sting operation by the Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore, a division of U.S. Customs and Immigration enforcement. The agency set up a phony payment processing business in Atlantic City and spent two years infiltrating the world of illegal online betting.

Agents ultimately handled more than $33 million in transactions and uncovered a thriving criminal community in Maryland and beyond: "There are numerous individuals in Maryland who have authorized payments to these [foreign] businesses," claims one agent's sworn affidavit, filed with court records.

Charged in the indictments are ThrillX Systems Ltd. and owners Darren Wright and David Parchomchuk, both of British Columbia, Canada; and K23 Financial Services (known as BMX Entertainment), run by defendant Ann Marie Puig, of San Jose, Costa Rica. They're all charged with running an illegal gambling business and money laundering through various Web sites seized Monday, including Truepoker.com and Funtimebingo.com.

The action taken by the Baltimore US Attorney’s office comes a little over a month after three of the largest Internet poker domain names – PokerStars.com, Full Tilt Poker.com and Absolute Poker.com - were seized by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.  

The Baltimore investigation into online gambling businesses has been ongoing for nearly five years and has always targeted payment processors.   This time they targeted the operators instead.   It should be noted that many of the domain names seized are affiliated with one another.  The office has worked in conjunction with the US Attorney’s Office out of the Southern District of New York. 

The April 15 indictments against PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and UB.com superseded this one.  The Baltimore US Attorney’s office press release goes into explicit details regarding the undercover investigation, which is an indication that the case against online betting companies is about to wrap up. 

 

This is a very fluid story that continues developing....

- Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publication

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