Federal authorities in Maryland have quietly filed money-laundering charges against two men, Edward Courdy and Michael Garone, who have figured in an ongoing investigation into the Internet gambling activities of the Bodog group.
The Baltimore newspaper City Paper discovered court documents relating to the charges, which were filed on September 29, through the federal courts website Pacer.
Both men were named in two forfeiture proceedings earlier this year, which resulted in the seizure of a total of $24 million from numerous bank accounts, as processors of illegal gambling transactions in the United States on behalf of Bodog .
Courdy is charged with transferring $2 380 273 in April from Dublin, Ireland, to a Nevada State Bank account held by Zaftig Instantly Processed Payments Corporation (ZIP Payments), and then to Maryland and elsewhere, to promote the carrying on of an illegal gambling business. Garone is charged with the same general scheme, alleged to have occurred in April 2007, involving the transfer of $1 499 975 from Frankfurt, Germany, to Branch Banking and Trust Bank account in Georgia held by JBL Services, Inc.
Thus far there have been no court dates set, and the two men are not in custody. A spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Maryland declined to divulge further information.
Interestingly, the date the charges were filed coincides with a claim by Courdy and ZIP Payments regarding forfeiture proceedings involving $9 869 283.05, which was seized in July from several bank accounts tied to Courdy. Courdy and ZIP Payments, through their California attorney, Stanley I. Greenberg, are seeking the return of the seized money.
They were not the only ones trying to get some of the money – also filing a claim was Dr. Scott Lewis's 1st Technology, LLC, earlier this year won a default judgement against Bodog of $46 597 849 in a Nevada court on a patents issue and is seeking to collect at least part of the money by intervening in the ZIP Payments forfeiture proceeding.
Garone and his company, JBL Services, did not contest the federal forfeiture of $14 200 195.73 in alleged Bodog-related proceeds.
In mid-July 2008, Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake finalised the forfeiture of those funds.
After examining the affidavits supporting the forfeiture proceedings, the City Paper reports that these describe in great detail the lengthy, convoluted efforts of Internal Revenue Service criminal investigator Randall S. Carrow to bring to light the global movement of money in support of Bodog’s online gambling activities. The documents also indicate that the case is being brought in Maryland because online gambling via Bodog was conducted by an undercover agent working in the state.
Bodog founder Calvin Ayre is currently reported to be living in Antigua, having retired and handed the administration of his North American brands to a Kahnawake-based company, Mohawk Morris Gaming Group.
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