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8 Million seized in poker bankroll funds in Washington State

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by felicie, Jan 14, 2011.

    Jan 14, 2011
  1. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    The recent enforcement of the 2006 UIGEA against online gambling transactions delivered a major blow to the online poker industry last month when eWalletXpress was forced to shut down their US operations. Over the past few days, the feds dealt another massive strike to the online poker world by seizing $8 million in online poker bankroll funds in Washington State.

    According to the stipulations imposed by the UIGEA, it is unlawful for banks to process transactions dealing with online gambling. Unfortunately, due to confusion among legislators regarding whether poker is a game of chance or a skill game, online poker is fully included in this legislation. As a result of recent enforcement of the UIGEA, many Washington poker players are now wondering why their bankrolls have suddenly evaporated.

    Forbes Magazine, the popular financial monthly that has been covering a surprising amount of news regarding the recent legal controversies over online poker, has reported that cash residing in the accounts of poker players at JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, SunTrust, Chase and Bank of America has been seized. Bank of America has been hit hardest, with a total of $5.1 million in poker funds seized thus far.

    The feds are targeting banks that have accepted payments from payment processors including Secure Money, Arrow Checks, Anaya Trading Solutions, Etegrity Processing and Blue Lake Logistics. If your poker site of choice uses any of those firms to process deposits or withdrawals, consider yourself warned.

    The beginning of the seizure dates back to June, when a federal task force officer received a tip from an individual stating that he’d received a payment from Arrow Checks for online poker winnings. Federal investigators are now examining the activity of financial transactions at sites including UB, Absolute POker, Poker Stars and Full Tilt. The investigations thus far have apparently been limited to Washington State.

    If you’re an online poker player residing in Washington State, now might be a good time to make a large withdrawal. If your bankroll hasn’t been confiscated already, this may be your last chance.
     
    6 people like this.
  2. Jan 14, 2011
  3. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse CAG

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    Thank you.

    Source please? I've got bones to pick with this story.... LOL

    I'd like to backtrack and find out about

    since I think ALL players with funds in EWX are left out in the cold. I didn't think they were exclusively USA facing... And WHO 'forced' a shut down...

    and a couple other things.... LOL
     
  4. Jan 14, 2011
  5. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    You must register/login in order to see the link. sorry mousey. :oops:
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Jan 14, 2011
  7. all4greed

    all4greed Now we can do business.

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    What are they suggesting to withdraw? The person's checking/savings accounts at the referenced banks or whatever EWallet type thing they are going through?
     
  8. Jan 14, 2011
  9. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    I read it just like you said. I just ran across this place last week and afraid I don't know much about them but you can register and ask them I suppose for more info. One thing for sure is why the hell ewalletxpress didn't make headlines like these? Somethings so stinky about the whole thing.
     
  10. Jan 14, 2011
  11. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

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    Quite. This latest news rams home how ODD the "seizure" at EWX is compared to all past, and now FUTURE, seizures.

    It looks more and more like EWX "went to ground" in time to outwit the DoJ, and still have the money somewhere.

    First they BS about "technical problems", then they let this "seizure" idea leak out, with all the stories based on that ONE email that ONE operator leaked. NOTHING other than this has since emerged to corroborate this piece of evidence.
     
  12. Jan 14, 2011
  13. all4greed

    all4greed Now we can do business.

    Occupation:
    Misc.
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    Pacific NW
    One would expect their front page of the website to have some remark about their difficulties, but alas no despite being in the 2 month mark. Not that I would do it, but I wonder if any individual could add money to their account, especially a new customer.
     
  14. Jan 14, 2011
  15. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    I was thinking about that too all4greed. LOL Does ewalletxpress think anyone will be running to do business with them after this little game since I don't know what else to call it.

    Since I started this thread does that mean I can derail it? Actually you did VWM. :) I guess we're good then.
     
  16. Jan 14, 2011
  17. LHofsdal

    LHofsdal Ueber Meister MM

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    I read on another forum that one of the members were in Canada, and they can not touch their EWX account either. So who knows.

    If you want the link to that forum, PM and I will send it to you. It won't be until Saturday, becausse I am going to hit the clearance sales tomorrow and that will take me all day.

    All the best,
    LH
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  18. Jan 14, 2011
  19. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse CAG

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    Thank you hon... I just wanted to see if I could get more info.... there's more holes in this story than a golf course... and just sheer lack of facts and info. Would really like more real information, but seems I still can't find anything in mainstream press about EWX.

    The state of Washington may be within their rights to confiscate funds. Not that I think it's right, it's just that it may be LEGAL for them, because gambling online was made VERY illegal in Washington State... right up there with robbers and rapists I think.
     
  20. Jan 14, 2011
  21. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

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    You started it:p

    Their "latest update" really STINKS though. This is outright CRIMINAL. They are inviting new customers to sign up and start using them, and this is certainly NOT the "latest update". It SHOULD at least read something like "We are currently unable to accept new customers due to ongoing technical problems".

    In NO WAY have they "come clean" with customers as implied previously.

    How is THIS seizure playing out, are the operators "coming clean" to individual players who have seen their funds disappear, or are they too claiming "technical issues". Have other seizures such as this prevented NON US customers from using the service. I was certainly NOT affected when Neteller had their US funds seized, and I don't believe the Canadian customers were either, despite the fact that Neteller quickly pulled out of Canada.

    It looks more and more like the EWX issue is NOT a straight forward seizure, but they are USING the fact that the DoJ are actively seizing funds as a credible explanation, that currently they have only given out to OPERATORS (and I bet a few operators are not "buying it" either).
     
  22. Jan 14, 2011
  23. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    Where did you find the update? New customers? all4greed's the one that's going to have a 'seizure'.
     
  24. Jan 14, 2011
  25. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    Another one from my search bar.

    WA State Poker Players lose $8 Million
    Jan 6, 2011 5:35 pm Report Abuse

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    Online Poker Players in Washington State lose $8 Million
    January 5, 2011 · Filed Under Online Gambling News, Online Poker News

    Online Poker players in the State of Washington have taken a huge “bad beat” from the Federal Government with over $8 million of their money being seized. Payment processors that were in the middle of transacting their winning payments or deposits at numerous poker sites have been seized one at a time and all monies frozen with not much hope of the players having their money returned. The Poker rooms are not losing the money, it’s the players that are losing because these processors that are being seized perform transactions for players when they win, which means the money is theirs or when they deposit, which means the money was theirs to play with at the poker rooms and none of the confiscated money comes out of the poker rooms pockets. Only the processors themselves get hit by these seizures with hefty fines and or jail time if found guilty of illegal transactions.

    Some of the processors that have been targeted and seized in Washington State include, Arrow Checks, Etegrity Processing, Anaya Trading Solutions, Secure Money, Logistics and Blue Lake Capital Management. All this money confiscation began in 2009 and is a result of a task force investigation that worked with the Washington State Gambling Commission. Many of the seized and frozen cash sits in high profile banks accounts at Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo and more. Some of the poker rooms that were included in this investigation included Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker four of the biggest poker rooms online.

    Some of the Federal investigators have actually contacted the “players” who have received checks from some of the above payment processors and they admitted that these checks were from online poker rooms. Now just imagine being an online poker player in your own home and you get a knock on your door to find some Feds standing there wanting to know about your online poker play! These people must have been frightened and intimidated into thinking they were going to be arrested or something and had to sit there and recall there poker play and winnings. So much money and effort on such a trivial issue as online poker being played by upstanding citizens in there own homes; it’s just a sad, sad day when poker players are harassed like they are criminals. In addition, where is all this money going? Why are the Feds not returning it to the players, or at least showing them were the money is going so that all speculation of government corruption and lining ones pockets with this money is not taking place. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to investigate the Feds and see where all this money is going and how it is being used?

    By Patricia C. Senior Editor CasinoScamReport.com
     
  26. Jan 14, 2011
  27. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

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    I am sure that in another case, those who owned the money were asked to claim it in person at some kind of hearing. Naturally, this meant entering the US, and offshore casinos and processors did not submit claims, as they expected that they would be arrested as soon as they entered the country. The DoJ then kept the unclaimed monies.

    With players residing in the US, they WOULD be able to submit a claim, but would probably have to strike a deal with the Federal agents, perhaps further information in exchange for the return of their monies. They may also have to sign an undertaking not to participate in online play again.
     
  28. Jan 14, 2011
  29. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    Feds Quietly Freeze Online Poker Cash in Washington
    Jan. 5 2011 - 8:43 am | 11,220 views | 0 recommendations | 25 comments
    By NATHAN VARDI
    Screenshot of the Pokerstars GUI at a real-mon...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Federal prosecutors in the state of Washington have in recent months quietly moved to seize nearly $8 million from financial outfits that were processing transactions for big online poker companies like PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker.

    According to four civil forfeiture complaints filed in federal court in Seattle since October, federal prosecutors have moved against cash sitting in accounts at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and SunTrust Banks, belonging to payment processor firms like Arrow Checks, Secure Money, Etegrity Processing, Anaya Trading Solutions and Blue Lake Capital Management and Logistics.

    The cash grab is the latest move in the Justice Department’s battle against online poker and comes after Washington’s State Supreme Court in September upheld a 2006 state law that made it a felony to play online poker for money in the state of Washington.

    The government’s cash grab is the result of a task force investigation that included the Washington State Gambling Commission and began in January 2009, the court filings show. The largest of these forfeiture cases, filed in December and involving $5.1 million, began in June after task force officer William Marik was notified by a witness that he had received a payout check of online poker winnings from Arrow Checks. The government investigation tracked more than $20 million of wire transfers from Canada and Texas to Arrow Checks accounts at Bank of America controlled by Scott Seguin and Justin Sather, court documents say.

    The investigating agents contacted Washington state online poker players in July who received checks from Arrow Checks and said the money represented proceeds from online poker playing at PokerStars, court documents say. Federal prosecutors claim Seguin and Sather were operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and violated the federal wire act “because online gambling is illegal in Washington state.”

    Other payment processors targeted by the feds had six bank accounts at SunTrust and Wells Fargo controlled by Sanjay Panya. Those bank accounts were used to issue checks that represented proceeds from online poker play at Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, according to online poker players in the state of Washington who received them and spoke to government investigators, the court documents say. The feds moved to seize $1.3 million in the accounts connected to Panya in November, claiming he was operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and violating the wire act.

    The other payment processor companies involved in the civil forfeiture actions were run by Brian Kenny and Javier Carillo, both of whom court documents say facilitated payments to Washington state residents derived from online poker play at UltimateBet.

    Federal prosecutorial efforts against online poker have in recent years focused on the role of payment processors, making it seem to some that the government does not have a high degree of confidence in its position that facilitating for-money online poker violates U.S. law, specifically the wire act. PokerStars, based in the Isle of Man, has long maintained that it offers for-money online poker play to U.S. players in accordance with legal opinions from several U.S. law firms that state it is not violating U.S. law.

    In August, federal prosecutors in Manhattan reached a civil settlement with Ahmad Khawaja and his two payment processing firms, which agreed to forfeit $13.3 million that the government claimed constituted proceeds of illegal gambling.

    A few months earlier, in May, Douglas Rennick, a Canadian payment processor, pleaded guilty to violating the wire act by processing more than $350 million in the U.S. for Internet poker companies, forfeiting money that belonged to players of PokerStars and Full Tilt. Both companies reimbursed players for funds lost in the Rennick seizures.

    The role of states and state law in the online poker landscape will likely play an important role in 2011, especially since Senator Harry Reid was unable to push through legislation late in 2010 that would have federally regulated online poker. Both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker stopped servicing the Washington state market last year.
     
  30. Jan 14, 2011
  31. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    This is players having to make a deal or were undercover to begin with. Why else would a 'poker player' inform the feds that he'd just received a check for poker wins from any company.
    On the other hand if my state had a law making it a felony to play online, I'm afraid I'd have to abide by it. I sure as hell wont go to prison for playing cards. Smoking a cigarette maybe someday but not playing cards. :D
     
  32. Jan 14, 2011
  33. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

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    When the seizures were actually made, they seem to have been "in the public domain", even though the pre-seizure investigation was not. With EWX, the seisure has now taken place, so why is there STILL no official word on this?

    I am sure I have read that Washington has used undercover players to trace the payment routes from sports betting in the past, so this is likely to have begun with undercover players, moving on to genuine players after the first seizures took place. From July onwards, players were contacted by the feds and asked about the payments, so at this point the news was out. Maybe these few players were not believed at the time, or didn't think they would be, so quietly pulled out of online poker, and didn't end up getting burned when the big seizures took place.

    The details also show close cooperation with the Canadian authorities, but it was ONLY US money that was seized, yet money from CANADIAN customers has supposedly ended up getting seized with EWX.
     
  34. Jan 14, 2011
  35. felicie

    felicie Ueber Meister PABnononaccred

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    Were we aware that not only is there the DOJ but also the OTJ which stands for Office of Tribal Justice as of 2010 when it came into being as a separate entity within the DOJ. still searching. feel like I'm playing the 'hot&cold' game. LOL
     
  36. Jan 15, 2011
  37. all4greed

    all4greed Now we can do business.

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    Felicie - good info. Doesn't look too hopeful for players. I could see them perhaps legally confiscating winnings, deposits should be exempt and returned at a minimum. But good luck on working all that out.

    What a mess.
     
    1 person likes this.
  38. Jan 15, 2011
  39. all4greed

    all4greed Now we can do business.

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    Thinking about this further, my state banned OLG years ago but I've heard radio interviews with people that have won serious money (6 figures +) at poker and the issues of legality never came up. Also, there were tv ads awhile back advertising for some poker site(s).

    I haven't read word for word the gambling laws here, but I can't believe that online poker would be exempt.
     

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