Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Rennick’

Players Shouldn’t Expect Money Back without Facing Tax Problems

by , Apr 18, 2011 | 4:54 pm

Sanford Millar


There are two actions pending against online poker companies in the Southern District of New York — an indictment of individual defendants, and a civil forfeiture complaint against the companies. The civil forfeiture complaint seeks forfeiture of all assets of the defendants, including specified domains and bank accounts.

There have been several civil and criminal forfeiture cases brought by the DoJ in recent years, including Daniel Tzvetkoff’s and Douglas Rennick’s (which are the original and first superseding indictments in the current case). Similar forfeiture cases have also been brought against other payment processors, but in none of these cases, as far as I know, have the Poker companies filed claims objecting to the seizures. Also of note is that no players made claims either.

Any player who makes a claim [for their deposits] should expect criminal inquiry by the FBI and IRS, and would not be able to recover on provable claims for some time. If the Poker companies default on the civil forfeiture, players will have no real legal recovery.

For the purpose of filing Foreign Bank Account Reports, some players may have taken the position, consistent with the position of the IRS, that they are general unsecured creditors in a common pool fund of deposits, and as such have no control or discretion over the investment of the funds. If this position is correct, then the DoJ’s forfeiture claims may have legs, as there may be no players to come forward able to make the specific factual statements necessary for a bonafide claim. Further, in order for the Poker companies to make claims, they likely would have to submit to jurisdiction of the U.S. and open their books and records to the DoJ and IRS among others.


Feds Officially Shake $17 Million from Rennick

Forfeiture order for guilty payment processor’s ill-gotten gains

by , May 15, 2010 | 6:21 am

Online gambling+poker payment processor Douglas Rennick had to sign over his property on Tuesday, in accordance with his recent guilty plea in US Federal Court. That, of course, has the Southern District of New York now batting 1.000 when it comes to getting convictions or guilty pleas in online gambling cases.

The amount Rennick admitted was involved in the illegal “gambling conspiracy” he was part of totaled $583 million. But as part of his plea agreement — reducing his threatened sentence from 30 years to 6-to-12 months — the amount he actually signed over (thereby contributing to national debt reduction, obv) was about $17 million. I think that was just about everything he had on him. The Feds are still seeking that extra half-billion, and expect Rennick to help them find it before he gets officially sentenced in September.

Check it out … here’s the actual forfeiture order
The crime the Canadian payment processor pled to (one count) was a Wire Act violation. Generally we poker people have thought of the Wire Act as being more about sports betting. But in Rennick’s case, court documents made it clear — specifically in an sworn affidavit from an FBI agent — that this money came from Full Tilt and/or PokerStars.

By law, the Feds have 30 days to post the details of his seized accounts at Then, you’ll have 60 days to file a claim if you think any of that money might belong to you. Any takers?

Big ups to @GamingCounsel for helping me understand the difference between “forfeiture allegation” and “subject property” in 140 characters or less. [thx!]

Forbes Calling Out Online Poker Woes

by , May 13, 2010 | 9:45 am

Check it out … from Forbes magazine:

Online Poker War Heats Up
The Department of Justice bags a Canadian payment processor in its fight against online poker. Are the big online firms next?

Interesting … these biz-media guys may not really get poker, but they do listen to The Poker Beat presumably understand a thing or two about multi-national finance and how putting rich white guys behind bars can be good for traffic circulation.

Generally, the poker world has always celebrated when the big online companies always got some mainstream media attention. But who knew there could even be a story without a press release from Full Tilt or PokerStars?

Canadian Payment Processor Douglas Rennick Pleads Guilty

Cops plea for processing cashouts, forfeits $17.1 million

by , May 11, 2010 | 5:23 pm

In a story that was originally reported in August, Canadian payment processor Douglas Rennick pleaded guilty in New York City to a charge of processing offshore bets to US residents and forced to forfeit $17,100,000.

Sentencing for Rennick is scheduled for sentencing on September 15th, with a prison term of six to twelve months expected.

Re: NY Courts to Unseal Payment Processor Documents

by , Aug 17, 2009 | 10:26 am

More of the court documents that were heavily redacted now have a bit less of a black line through them, to show Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars mentioned in the case of Douglas Rennick and the freezing of nearly $40m in funds from payment processors.

iMEGA has a copy of the documents up on their site.

NY Courts to Unseal Payment Processor Documents

by , Aug 11, 2009 | 2:48 pm

A US District Judge has granted Costigan Media — the folks behind Gambling911 — their request to unseal seizure warrants and (heavily redacted) court documents related to the seizure of some $34 million that US attorneys allege are ill-gotten gains from illegal online gambling.

This is a semi-significant ruling because while the First Amendment has stood up for such requests in most criminal prosecutions, there is less case law directly addressing matters of civil forfeiture, according to Judge Laura Taylor Swain … but ultimately, yes, when thousands of American citizens are having funds they believe to be theirs seized by the government, yes, the public has a right to know what’s going on.

Click here for 49 pages of freshly released legal documents, not all of which look like this:

The losing side, btw, in this mini case-within-a-case are ultimately the same Manhattan federal prosecutors who followed up these payment processee seizures with an indictment against Douglas Rennick — the Canadian payment processor who faces more than 50 years in prison (cumulative), $1.75 million in fines, and the forfeiture of nearly $566 million on charges of fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling operations for his doing business with websites such as Full Tilt, PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, and others.

That indictment, of course, may or may not have come coincidentally on the same day Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a Senate bill that would effectively make all the issues being adjudicated above moot in the future.

Regardless of what’s in play there, I think it’s clear why, indeed online poker related money issues really can’t be handled in the shadows — as much as some federal prosecutors would like such transactions to stay that way.

Canadian Payment Processor Indicted, US Looking to Recover $500M+

by , Aug 6, 2009 | 10:40 am

From the Department of Justice:

Internet Gambling Payment Processor Charged With Bank Fraud, Money Laundering and Illegal Gambling Offenses

NEW YORK, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Lev L. Dassin, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today the filing of an indictment charging Douglas Rennick with bank fraud and other offenses stemming from his role in processing more than $350 million for Internet gambling companies. According to the indictment filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court:

Since at least 2007 through June 2009, Rennick opened a number of bank accounts in the United States under various corporate names, such as KJB Financial Corporation, Account Services Corporation and Check Payment Financial Co. In opening the accounts, he and his co-conspirators falsely represented that the accounts would be used for such purposes as issuing rebate checks, refund checks, sponsorship checks, affiliate checks and minor payroll processing. In fact, Rennick and his co-conspirators used the
accounts to receive funds from offshore Internet gambling companies that offered, variously, poker, blackjack, slots and other casino games. Rennick and his co-conspirators then disbursed those funds via checks to U.S. residents seeking to cash out their gambling winnings. Rennick and his co-conspirators provided false and misleading information to U.S. banks about the purpose of the accounts because the banks would not have processed the transactions had they known they were gambling-related. In
total, Rennick and his co-conspirators processed more than $350 million transferred from a Cyprus bank account to various U.S. bank accounts for this purpose.

Rennick is charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to engage in money laundering and conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business. If found guilty, Rennick faces a maximum term of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the bank fraud charge, 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on the money laundering charge, and five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the gambling charge. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of at least approximately
$565,908,288, which represents the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the illegal gambling and bank fraud conspiracies. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein.

Rennick, 34, currently resides in Canada. Mr. Dassin praised the investigative work of the FBI and thanked the
Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service for their assistance in the investigation. Mr. Dassin added that the investigation is continuing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arlo Devlin-Brown and Jonathan New are in charge of the prosecution, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Alberts is in charge of the forfeiture in this case.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.