A New York Circuit Court judge has ruled in favour of a media company which contested the need for official enforcement warrants and documents to be sealed in a case that involved the seizure of $40 million from cash processing companies and banks.
But certain information could be redacted (blanked out), the judge ruled, possibly reducing the value of the unsealed documents.
The case was brought before Judge Laura Taylor Swain by Gambling911 parent Costigan Media last week in a bid to improve official disclosures on sealed warrants detailing enforcement moves against a number of financial companies allegedly involved in the movement of gambling monies. The enforcement action created major mainstream press headlines reporting the seizure of $40 million, mainly destined for winning poker players.
The seizures were made on an FBI request from Union Bank and Wells Fargo branches in California after Judge Theodore Katz issued the warrant for the Wells Fargo funds, and Judge Henry Pitman issued a warrant for Union Bank.
Costigan Media launched a legal action through New York law firm Baruch Weiss, and yesterday (Tuesday) this resulted in Judge Swain ruling that there was not enough "compelling reason" to keep the warrants and other related court documents sealed.
Earlier, federal enforcement officials had fought to keep the documents under seal, arguing that they were "….actively investigating matters discussed in the affidavits that Costigan seeks to unseal. Under these circumstances, granting Costigan’s motion would be unprecedented.”
It is understood that Costigan Media has since asked the courts to reconsider at least some of the redactions.
Since the seizures, a further action against financial institutions allegedly handling gambling monies has been launched by enforcement agencies. In this action, a Canadian resident, Douglas Rennick (34), has been indicted in the United States on fraud and related charges for processing some $350 million for Internet gambling firms.
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