US authorities charge top poker sites with fraud

US authorities charge top poker sites with fraud

Friday, 15 April 2011

Federal authorities in the USA have unsealed an indictment against the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker accusing them of a series of offences including bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling.

According a statement released by the Manhattan District Attorney restraining orders have been issued against over 75 bank accounts used by the online poker trio and their payment processors. Five Internet domain names including, and have been seized.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits. Moreover, as we allege, in their zeal to circumvent the gambling laws, the defendants also engaged in massive money laundering and bank fraud. Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like simply because they can’t bear to be parted from their profits."

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk added, "These defendants, knowing full well that their business with U.S. customers and U.S. banks was illegal, tried to stackthe deck. They lied to banks about the true nature of their business. Then, some of the defendants found banks willing toflout the law for a fee. The defendants bet the house that they could continue their scheme, and they lost."

The indictment alleges that PokerStars, FullTilt and Absolute Poker used fraudulent methods to circumvent federal law and trick banks and credit card companies into processing payments on their behalf.

Former US Senator Alfonse D'Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance advocacy group said “On behalf of the millions of poker players across the country, we are shocked at the action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice today against online poker companies and will continue to fight for Americans’ right to participate in the game they enjoy."

"Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such. We are currently gathering all of the information around today’s announcement and will offer detailed analysis when the full facts become available.”

US players have been blocked from cash games and tournaments at PokerStars.

Keep up to date with all the news from the poker world by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Tags: Law