FBI Banned Online Poker Websites FullTilt Poker, PokerStars and AbsolutePoker

FBI banned Online Poker Website FullTilt Poker PokerStars Absolute PokeriTechWhiz (April 17, 2011)- FBI banned three of the major online poker Web sites FullTiltPoker.com PokerStars.com and AbsolutePoker.com, charging them for Bank Fraud, Illegal Gambling and Money Laundering offenses.

This bold move of crackdown on online gambling by United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and United States Attorney Office has not only shocked and shaken all the online poker world, turning it upside down, but it also has raised many eyebrows with serious question to the law.


Who is Arrested in FullTilt Poker, PokerStars and AbsolutePoker Crackdown

FBI charging 11 accused, including the founders of PokerStars, FullTiltPoker and AbsolutePoker. These includes online gambling websites owner and payment processors:
  • PokerStars - Isai Scheinberg, Paul Tate
  • Full Tilt Poker - Raymond Bitar, Nelson Burtnick
  • Absolute Poker - Scott Tom, Brent Beckley
  • Payment Processors - Ryan Lang, Ira Rubin, Bradley Franzen, Chad Elie and John Campos

FullTilt Poker, PokerStars and AbsolutePoker Websites Banned

The agency also seized all their business properties including their Internet Domains where they host online poker games. Online visitors of www.PokerStars.com, www.FullTiltPoker.com and www.AbsolutePoker.com on Saturday started to encounter an FBI ban notice along with a reminder that illegal gambling is a federal crime in United States when they accessed the website.

FBI banned warning notice for Online Poker Websites Full Tilt Poker Poker Stars Absolute Poker

Charges on FullTilt Poker, PokerStars and AbsolutePoker

US Attorney Office issued orders to seize their 75 bank accounts in 14 countries, in addition with seeking $3 billion in damages under charges of:
  • Conspiracy to violate Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)
  • Violation of UIGEA
  • Operation of Illegal Gambling Business
  • Conspiracy to commit Bank Fraud and Wire Fraud
  • Money Laundering Conspiracy

Possible Legal Penalties to FullTilt Poker, PokerStars and AbsolutePoker

Maximum penalties from these charges range from five years in prison and a $250,000 fine to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine (or twice the gross gain or loss). Manhattan US Attorney, Preet Bharara said in the indictment:
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.

Complaints against FullTilt Poker, PokerStars and AbsolutePoker

Operation In-charge Officer, Janice Fedarcyk, FBI Assistant Director told:
These defendants, knowing full well that their business with US Customers and US Banks was illegal, tried to stack the deck. They lied to banks about the true nature of their business. Then, some of the defendants found banks willing to flout the law for a fee. The defendants bet the house that they could continue their scheme, and they lost.
There were already complaint that also alleged these companies for using "Fraudulent Methods" to trick financial institutions into receiving payments. The sites arranged for the money received from US gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants purporting to sell merchandise such as jewelry and golf balls.

Support for FullTilt Poker, PokerStars and AbsolutePoker

On the other hand, the accused showed extreme disliking and disappointment on this action by FBI and announced to defend them in count of law.

Interesting to mention that PokerStars and FullTilt are sponsors of ESPN Poker Programming. ESPN The Worlds Leader in Sports News, is trying to contact Defendants and US Department of Justice to resolve the situation.

Former US Senator Alfonse D'Amato, Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance said he was "shocked" by the arrests and indictments. Poker Players Alliance has also came to the rescue of accused in its press release:
On behalf of the millions of poker players across the country, we are shocked at the action taken by the US Department of Justice 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.
The past few years, there have been numerous seizures and indictments of payment processors in the United States who were handling the financial transactions of the online poker sites. As processors continued to be targeted and shut down by federal prosecutors.
FBI Banned Online Poker Websites FullTilt Poker, PokerStars and AbsolutePoker Reviewed by Adnan Malik on 3:56 AM Rating: 5

5 comments:

Andrew mann said...

It seems they switched the main sites to www.fulltilpoker.co.uk and www.pokerstars.eu, the software also has been updated to block deposits from US players temporarily.

Adnan Malik said...

Andrew! I have checked, you are quite right.
The scale of crackdown is limited to US, as the websites still managed to have a business continuity plan in the rest of world with alternative domain addresses.

Lot of people are wondering what actually made FBI make such a move?

I believe in today, security Agencies all over the world work closely with financial institution to monitor financial transactions. FBI has loud and clear direction from Homeland Security, on wag of war against terrorism, to remain conscious about any possible financial loophole from where money can be transferred to terrorist or unlawful outfits. So I see this move in security context rather as a blow to U.S. online poker players
Still Like it said in my opening paragraphs it raised many eyebrows and there are lot of people who see this move by FBI as a discouragement.

Anonymous said...

I am british, i was totally shocked at such a supposedly free country imposing such a ridiculous ban. It affects not only online players but professionals at the sport. If its such a big deal why have they not banned it any sooner? I tell you why because they are finding that there funding is running out and online poker is the only loop hole they can throw there laws at to penalise the general american public, all this is gonna do is make the american public despise the government for imposing it leading them to despise other parts of american culture.. it is a big blow to them but the government dont care they would tax you for breathing air if u could and the united kingdom aint much better at all.. our prices have got massive and most of us cant evven get half of what we used to, they cut our military funds, they cut our governments funds and it just sux

dave g said...

it amazes me how hypocritical the fbi are to ban on line poker but allow millions of morons the right to bear arms borders on the absolute ridiculous

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