Maryland district court to consider US government forfeiture claim
Millions of dollars, allegedly from online gambling transactions interrupted by US government action against a number of e-cash processors (see previous InfoPowa reports), are now the subject of forfeiture hearings in the northern division of The US District Court for Maryland, reports the Baltimore City Paper.
Richard C. Kay, assistant US attorney for Baltimore, filed case number 1:10-cv-00774-CCB this week seeking the forfeiture to the state of some $5 million, which was seized in enforcement actions against processing companies like Electracash, HMD Inc, Forshay Enterprises and Direct Channel LLC.
The cash is alleged to have originated from major offshore online gambling sites like Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and Bodog and was intended as payments to online gamblers using the facilities at those companies. It is currently in the custody of the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement division in Maryland. As with all civil forfeiture cases, anyone who believes they have an interest in the money is free to file a claim with the court, asking for its return.
Funds seized from accounts held by another payment processor, Atrium Financial Group, are not mentioned in the forfeiture action.
Most of the evidence supporting the seizures remains secret, The Baltimore City Paper reports, claiming that this information is filed in investigators' affidavits that judges have put under seal. The forfeiture filing therefore does not shed new light on the investigation.
One declaration, made by specal agent Lisa Ward of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, discloses that the seized money is alleged to have been derived from gambling on numerous web sites.
She specifically mentions Bodog and three sites dedicated to poker: PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker. The funds subject to forfeiture, she writes, were transmitted from "Canada, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, and elsewhere," into the seized accounts.
The Maryland investigations apparently commenced in 2006, although thus far only two individual criminal charges have been filed: those against Edward Courdy and Michael Garone in 2008, who were accused of money laundering.
See the full forfeiture claim here: http://www.scribd.com/full/29180687?access_key=key-2d3h5aiu9bbo9wsgrayh