A payment processing company from San Antonio, Texas had been involved in moving funds from online poker room operating illegally in the US. However, rather than face prosecution for moving those funds, the company has chosen to forfeit it.
In a move to stabilize the issue, the firm decided to forfeit $6.27 million. The move to forfeit the cash came after the Justice Department of the United States started a nationwide bust on Internet gambling. The move that was initiated last year saw the closure of many Internet gambling sites across the nation. The firm, LST Financial of San Antonio admitted to moving cash tied to 3 online poker sites operating illegally, but insisted they committed no wrong doing.
Managing Director of LST Financial Gregory Colton said, “We did not knowingly provide, either directly or indirectly, payment processing services for Internet gambling, including Internet poker.” His statement has also been included in paper filed with the Manhattan Federal Court.
LST claimed that it did not have any knowledge that it was processing illegal funds and claimed that the 3 poker companies had pulled a fast one on them causing them to process illegal poker players’ payments. These companies, LST confirmed were shutdown by FBI during the April 15th, 2011 bust. On forfeiting the cash, LST Financial will get back funds frozen by the US government that were not earned by illegal means. Michael Bachner, an LST Financial attorney said,
LST is gratified that the government agreed to return assets unrelated to the PokerStars activities.
Ryan Lang was among the accused in the illegal gambling bust, and he was said to have owned at least 50% of a company that LST Financial handled the payments for. Lang pleaded guilty earlier this year, on charges filed by the Justice Department. Lang also admitted to have assisted the poker room called PokerStars along with a few online poker companies whose names remain unknown to secretly transfer their player’s funds under the guise of other legal transactions.
FBI’s most wanted list in connection to illegal gambling consisted of 11 players. The hunt for these 11 players started over 15 months ago, when the US government shut down several online gambling sites. Among the 11 members accused of cheating and money laundering, was Ray Bitar – the ex chief executive officer of Full Tilt Poker. Bitar was recently arrested on 9 charges of money laundering and cheating.
Of the many companies that the US government shutdown last year, three of the biggest US poker sites remain shut to the US market. However, they have
shifted base to other countries were poker is regulated and legalized by the local government.