How Another 10 Online Gambling Sites Got Shut Down

by Punter's Hero on May 26, 2011

in Gaming

Internet gambling just can’t seem to get a break lately. From Baltimore, Maryland, now 10 more domains have been seized along with numerous bank accounts located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Panama; Guam; Portugal; Malta; and the Netherlands and even more indictments have been handed down.

The following domains were seized by court order:

If you try to visit any of these online gambling sites, you will be greeted with a bright red “seized” banner framing a nice note from the FBI.

The following people have been charged in one indictment: Thrillx Systems, Ltd., doing business as BetEd; and Darren Wright and David Parchomchuk of British Colombia. A second indictment charges 35-year-old Ann Marie Puig from San Jose, Costa Rica and K23 Group Financial Services, doing business as BMX Entertainment.

According to the indictments, Thrillx, registered in British Columbia but with offices in San Jose, Costa Rica and Vancouver, Canada, is a software solutions provider that produces online casino sports book and software. BMX Entertainment, located in Limassol, Cyprus, operates six online sports betting websites.

These defendants are now facing a maximum five-year prison sentence for illegal gambling charges and a maximum 20-year prison sentence for money laundering, though no court date has been set yet.

The indictments propose that the named defendants own and operate illegal sports betting gambling businesses. The affidavit proclaims Internet gambling sites are operated by companies based outside the US, although the majority of their customers are on US soil. These Internet gambling operators use the US banking system and US-based payment processors to move funds to and from players accounts.

The US Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein for the District of Maryland said when he announced the indictments and seizures, “It is illegal for internet gambling enterprises to do business in Maryland, regardless of where the website operator is located. We cannot allow foreign website operators to flout the law simply because their headquarters are based outside the country.”

Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Baltimore Maryland William Winter says, “These indictments are the direct result of impressive undercover investigative work by our agents, along with the close collaboration of our law enforcement partners here in Maryland.”

He further explained, “The proceeds from illegal Internet gambling are often used to fuel organized crime and support criminal activity. ICE HSI will work diligently to uncover illicit transactions involving these types of financial crimes. Together, with our law enforcement partners, we will disrupt and dismantle organizations that commit these crimes, regardless of their location, whether here in the United States or abroad.”

Rebecca A. Sparkman, IRS Special Agent in Charge, says, “Internet gambling, along with other types of illegal e-commerce, is an area of great interest to IRS Criminal Investigation.”

She continued, “Laundering money from illegal activity such as illegal internet gambling is a crime. Regardless of how the money changes hands – via cash, check, wire transfers or credit cards – and regardless of where the money is stored – in a United States financial institution or an offshore bank – we will trace the funds. IRS Criminal Investigation will vigorously investigate and recommend prosecution against the owners and operators of these illegal enterprises to the fullest extent possible.”

According to the affidavit, on November 12, 2009, an online gambler and informant based out of Maryland claims that he/she set up online gambling accounts and placed $500 worth of bets on Internet gambling sites. Said gambler made an account on BetEd and then made several bets. On March 30, 2010, payment processor Linwood was used to wire $100 to her BetEd account, funds which she won from gambling.

Linwood has allegedly processed similar transactions for BetEd since 2009, as well as other gambling sites via banks in Charlotte, North Carolina and Guam. Between December 2009 and January 2011, Linwood processed more than 300,000 transactions totaling more than $33 million.

The indictments are seeking forfeiture of bank accounts used in the processing of gambling transactions, as well as the websites’ domain names that were used to facilitate online gambling transactions.

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