In a story released through the Dow Jones Newswires, the defendants in the online gambling money laundering case have agreed to forfeit $13.3 million, The money was seized by the U.S. Government from two online gaming payment processors, Allied Wallet Inc. and Allied Systems Inc. both owned by Ahmad Khawaja.
The FBI says this is just a small portion of what was run through the business for the first half of 2009. Some of the funds were allegedly linked back to Pokerstars and a few other off shore gambling sites. U.S. prosecutors argued that some of the money was traceable to wire transfers coming from outside and contended that this was “by individuals and entities who knew that the funds involved represented the proceeds of the illegal transmission of gambling information and the operation of an illegal gambling business.”
Since the UIGEA is very vague in defining what exactly is illegal gambling and only specifically spells out online sports betting in the law, sites that are just online poker sites contend they are doing nothing wrong. Interestingly enough the Government may agree as the DOJ typically has been going after the payment processors and not the sites themselves.
As far as Pokerstars is concerned, a spokesman had this to say,
“PokerStars does not condone efforts by processors to conceal the nature or purpose of funds used to play online poker. PokerStars has taken steps to ensure that processors properly disclose the nature of their business to their relevant financial institutions.”
This is not the first case this year involving money laundering charges and online gambling. Back in April Daniel Tzvetoff faced off against the DOJ. Hopefully though the future of online gambling in America will be getting brighter as HR 2267 keeps building to a full House of Representatives vote.