UltimateBet winners were classed as "payroll" payments by Canadian processing company
 
The epicentre for US online gambling payment processing prosecutions shifted this week from the east coast of the US to Washington State, already infamous for its draconian anti-internet gambling laws.
 
The publication Seattle PI reports that Federal prosecutors in Seattle have moved to seize $553,000 from a Canadian company they say is facilitating payments to online poker players.
 
In a civil complaint filed earlier this month, prosecutors asked a U.S. District Court judge to order the balance of six bank accounts associated with the service be forfeited to the government.   Prosecutors claim the service, identified in court documents as Secure Money, Inc., mailed payments, disguised as payroll payments, to Washington poker players using online gambling sites in violation of state law.
 
The investigation began in 2009 with a sting operation where an agent for the state Gambling Commission began playing online poker through the Ultimate Bet website.
 
An Assistant U.S. Attorney alleged in court documents "Secure Money, Inc. distributed checks on behalf of illegal websites that host gambling activity."  Processing checks that represent the funds derived from illegal gambling … constitutes a violation of the money laundering
provisions set in federal law.
 
Bank records seized by investigators showed that more than $5,500 checks had been issued from the Secure Money, Inc. account between June 2009 and January, totaling $2.7 million, with  memo line on each listed "payroll" as the reason for payment. Investigators contend Secure Money, Inc., was operating as a money transfer business without the licenses required by Nevada and Florida state law, according to the civil complaint.
 
The case continues.