FTC & DOJ To Split $13.62 Million in Funds Seized from Online Poker SitesWritten by Michael Levanduski
September 26, 2013 # 2:24 pm # Industry News, Legal Challenges, Specials # 2 Comments
Anyone who has participated in, or had any dealings with online poker sites such as PokerStars and Full Tilt will remember “Black Friday” in April of 2011 where top online poker sites were shut down, and any money in active accounts was seized. There was an extensive legal battle between the US Government and these online gambling sites, which the Government eventually won. Until now, the fate of the $13.62 Million in seized money was undetermined.
Court documents which were recently made public show that a deal was reached between the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice lawyers which details how the money will be distributed. There is a 50:50 split of the funds seized from the SunFirst Bank of St. Georgia, Utah. The money is divided between the US Marshals, working on behalf of the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission, represented by Robb Evans and Associates.
The four accounts from SunFirst Bank of St. Georgia, Utah which contained $13.62 Million, mostly from online-poker funds, are now going to these two Government organizations. This will, of course, upset millions of poker players who not only lost their ability to play online poker for money, but also lost the money they had deposited into their accounts. Many of those depositing the money believed at the time that they were gambling legally.
This, however, isn’t the end of the money. There are three additional accounts at other banks which contain funds from online poker companies. The total amount in these accounts has not yet been disclosed, but it will also be split between the FTC and DOJ, assuming the money is confirmed to be from the online poker sites. This money is being held at a Wells Fargo, NA bank and FBME Bank LTE, Cyprus in the name of Triple Seven INC and Kombi Capital, both online gambling companies.
One final account, which is believed may be connected with PokerStars is also being investigated further, and held at the Societe Generale Cyprus, but was not a part of this arrangement. What will happen with the undisclosed amount of money in this account is still unclear.
This is a major step in this long and complicated legal case, though it is certainly not the end. The Government agencies are also investigating other online gambling entities as part of a massive $275 million FTC trade lawsuit alleging telemarketing fraud, among other things, against Utah marketer Jeremy Johnson and his firm, iWorks.