December 17, 2012 : U.S. GOVERNMENT REAPS ANOTHER MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR FORFEITURE
Old World Wide Tele-Sports case under the Wire Act finally resolved
A Wire Act case dating back to 2003 and involving the seizure of online gambling funds held by a US correspondent bank was finally wrapped up this week, with the Department of Justice gathering in another $6,976,924 in forfeiture for the US government.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a consent order of forfeiture under online sports betting and money laundering laws following investigations into defendant William Paul Scott going back some years by the Justice Department's Criminal Divison and the IRS.
The forfeiture notice was first filed in December 2003 against a company titled Soulbury Limited, a shell controlled by Scott and alleged by investigators to have been used to conceal profits he made through US-illegal offshore Internet gambling operations on the World Wide Tele-Sports website out of Antigua between 1997 and 2002.
WWTS and related entities offered online sports betting services to US residents, who made up the majority of WWTS’s clientele. Financial transactions took place online or via telephone, with hundreds of millions of US dollars allegedly sent to foreign banking accounts set up by WWTS.
Aided by the Bailiwick of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, US authorities located and filed forfeiture orders on funds in banks located in Guernsey, and additionally seized $6,976,924 from a correspondent bank account in the United States held by the Royal Bank of Scotland International (Guernsey).
Soulbury contested the forfeiture actions, whilst Scott remained a fugitive outside the United States, and was subsequently indicted in his absence by federal courts in New York and the District of Columbia.
In late 2012 Scott voluntarily returned to the United States and pleaded guilty to money laundering, violations of the Wire Act and other offenses relating to WWTS in the District of Columbia. He was convicted on one count of conspiracy to violate the Wire Act and three counts of international money laundering, and consented to the civil forfeiture of the $6,976,924 in proceeds traced to Royal Bank of Scotland International (Guernsey).
Scott is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2013.