Those who labored under the impression that wagering on online poker was illegal appear to have been right.
Despite the creative maneuvering and accounting of some very sharp minds at the largest poker web sites in the world, it appears federal authorities have been peeking at their cards. On Friday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged operators of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and PokerStars with violating anti-Internet gambling laws in what is being called a $3 billion fraud and money laundering scam. There’s a civil money laundering complaint, restraining orders filed against more than 75 banks, and actions against the online companies, which are represented by Americans but tucked away overseas and on offshore islands.
“These defendants, knowing full well that their business with U.S. customers and U.S. banks was illegal, tried to stack the deck,” New York FBI SAC Janice K. Fedarcyk said in a statement. “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.”