The week ended on a dramatic note when Account Services Corporation, one of the e-processing companies impacted by the seizure of on-deposit online poker player funds taken by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, fought back.
The company filed a Motion for Return of Property, naming the US Attorney for the Southern District of California, Karen Hewitt; the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Lev Daesin and Assistant US Attorneys Arlo Devlin-Brown and Jeffrey Alberts.
ASC's legal representatives asked the courts to order the return of funds seized from Wells Fargo Bank and from Union Bank, N.A., naming specific account numbers in terms of Rule 41(g) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and justifying the claim with extensive information on the popularity of poker and extending to detail on the skill vs. chance argument, citing legal precedents.
The filing emphasised that the seized deposits rightfully belonged and were under the control of online poker players. The company was also prejudiced by the damage to its reputation and trust which the seizures had caused.
ASC argues that the seizures are patently unreasonable, and asks the court to order without delay the return of the monies involved.
The filing asks for the immediate "….release and return of funds totaling approximately $13,000,000.00 held in account number 7986104185 with Wells Fargo Bank in Escondido, California, and funds in excess of $1,000,000.00 held in accounts numbered 353000248 and 353000256 with Union Bank, N.A. in San Diego, California. The Wells Fargo funds were seized pursuant to a warrant, whereas the Union Bank funds were seized without a warrant in the Southern District of California," the papers explain.
"ASC respectfully submits that this Court has equitable jurisdiction over this Motion, and requests the release and return of the property for the reasons set forth in the attached Memorandum of Points and Authorities."
The filing is dated July 10 and was submitted by the law offices of Michael Pancer.
Pancer establishes the right of ASC to act in the matter by claiming: "It is beyond dispute that ASC has an interest in the seized accounts: ASC owned the accounts, which consisted in large part of money held in trust by ASC for approximately 13 800 individual poker players, as well as operating funds. ASC owed each of those individual players a fiduciary duty, which it breached when checks issued by ASC, payable to the individual players, bounced as a result of this seizure.
"Notwithstanding the fact that some of the players may have been credited for their lost funds by the operators, ASC still has an interest in and a need for return of the money. In many cases, individual players cash their checks at check cashing businesses across the country; ASC is now liable to every one of those cash checking business that paid players for what were bad checks, and receives daily demands for reimbursement of the bounced checks.
"ASC will suffer irreparable injury if the property is not returned. The government caused irreparable injury to ASC when it unlawfully seized the funds in ASC's Wells Fargo and Union Bank accounts. ASC was placed in an untenable position by the government when checks, payable to individual players for whom ASC held money in trust, bounced. Furthermore, as discussed above, ASC is now exposed to demands and threats of civil suit from check cashing businesses that cashed individual players' checks which subsequently bounced," the filing informs.
In its conclusion, the filing alternatively requests that the Court conduct an Evidentiary Hearing on the issues raised by the motion.
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