02/16/2012 : Legal documents point to an action against a payment processor over Washington state online gambling transactions
Whilst the Everleaf Poker Network remains mute over its ban on French and U.S. players last week online media covering the industry continued to unearth more information – some of it apparently conflicting with claims by one network skin that there had been no enforcement action involved.
Reports on several poker information sites quote from government legal documents detailing a seizure action against the Liechtenstein-based payment processor Causash Establishment by a government task force staffed by Secret Service operatives in Seattle and based on the state law of Washington, which specifically defines online gambling as a criminal offence.
It was alleged that Causcash serviced transactions from Everleaf card rooms.
The reports claim that the investigation ran from 2009, culminating in the seizure action.
In the absence of explanations from Everleaf, speculation is growing that the ban on US action and subsequent player complaints of slow-pay incidents may be connected with the seizure action and financial liquidity.
Reports on various poker information sites claim that federal agents used false identities to open accounts, play and make financial transactions in order to follow the money trail, with three of the Everleaf network's skins in their sights – Raider Poker, Poker Royal and Everleaf Poker.
"A U.S. bank account used by Causash rarely held funds, but almost immediately converted the foreign currency deposits to U.S. dollars and transferred the funds to other bank accounts. Between January 2010 and August 2011, Causash sent a total of 273 wire transfers to a Bank of New York account, totaling $ 734,835.00," the reports reveal.
"A warrant was issued in October 2011, commanding Bank of N.Y. to seize wire transfers to/from Causash via the specified bank account, over a two-week period. No wires during the period in question were seized, but pursuant to a second amended warrant, an account balance of $ 27,465.93 was seized and forwarded to the U.S. Secret Service."
The agents also appear to have tracked individuals and their transactions, including poker professionals. The official documents name one Las Vegas professional who received around $85,000 between August and September 2010 through Causcash, and other individual players are identified, together with specific amounts they received.
The seizure warrants relied on charges of committing, aiding and abetting 18 U.S.Code 1960(a), Prohibition of unlicensed money transmitting businesses,18 U.S.Code 1084(a) Transmission of Wagering Information(The Wire Act), and 18 U.S.Code 1956(a)(1)(A)(i) and 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) Money Laundering.
Diamond Flush published a link to the seizure document:
UPDATE: In an exchange with Diamond Flush, Everleaf has allegedly confirmed that the federal action took place, but declined to reveal the amount involved, other than to say that it was in excess of the $27 000 claimed in the court documents. The network stressed that there will be no impact on player accounts because it segregates player funds from its operating capital.