RE: Fed Crackdown on Online Poker Money Transfers (2)
PokerStars refunds, bank account seizures, grand jury subpoenas
The latest on Federal online poker funds crackdown and legally questionable anti-poker court actions …
Pokerstars has confirmed with its players that indeed, some payout funds have been frozen in American banks — but they’ve credited back affected monies with a 10 percent inconvenience bonus and an invitation to try again, Gambling911 reports.
If you wish to resubmit your cashout request, you can do so from our Cashier by selecting the check option (your new check will be issued on a different account and can be deposited as normal) or wire transfer (only available for amounts greater than [$2,500]).
But while Stars’ “take care of the player first” approach may be admirable, wiring money through a new financier may just be a temporary solution to eCheck problems affecting thousands of players — a little game of financial cat and mouse (+ good-will PR) while a bigger, costlier legal battle takes shape.
Under advisement from the DOJ agent, a federal prosecutor in New York’s Southern District apparently got a magistrate to sign off on seizure orders last week for multiple American bank accounts connected to PokerStars payouts. The court also issued subpoenas (warrants?) for two individuals to appear before a grand jury on June 18.
I haven’t seen the legal documents yet, but supposedly they allege the seized monies are likely to be proceeds from unlawful gambling — not according to the 2006 UIGEA, mind you, but rather … you guessed it … the 1961 Wire Act.
It’s still not clear to me who exactly’s on trial yet, but the Fed’s actions at this point seem to most immediately be targeting the banks and or the Neteller alternative payment processors. Supposedly $19 million earmarked as payouts (and perhaps WSOP buy-ins) from at least one major online poker site was frozen at banks in Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Arizona. This either followed or coincided with the freezing of $14 million that Wells Fargo was holding for player cashouts.
At least one of the subjects subpoenaed by (to?) the grand jury is an officer with Allied Systems, an online credit card processing company.
We’ll let you know more as we find it out — particularly as it might affect the WSOP. In the meantime, legal teams from around the online poker industry are considering challenging the legality of the fund seizures, and supposedly the PPA plans to enter the courtroom fray on behalf of its potentially affected members if a case moves forward.