In what could be a big hit to many MMA athletes and fans alike the FBI today has seized the domain name of Full Tilt Poker, Poker Stars and Absolute Poker. While seemingly unrelated to MMA, these poker sites play a big role in the MMA world by sponsoring many fighters and promotions alike. For fighters, this means there is one less avenue for sponsorship money. After the jump are details of what went wrong for these big name poker sites
A total of five domain names, including UB.com, PokerStars.com, FullTiltPoker.com, have been seized by the DOJ. Restraining orders were also issued for 75 bank accounts used by the poker sites and payment processors.
“As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions inillegal gambling profits,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “Moreover, as we allege, in their zeal to circumvent the gambling laws, the defendants also engaged in massive money laundering and bank fraud. Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like simply because they can’t bear to be parted from their profits.”
The indcitment alleges that the poker companies worked with payment processors to fool U.S. banks into processing payments to and from players. All 11 defendants have been charged with Conspiracy to Violate Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which has a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross amount won or lost and three years supervised release.
The founders of the three poker sites have been charged with Violation of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act , which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross amount won or lost and three years supervised release, and Operation of Illegal Gambling Business, which also carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross amount won or lost and three years supervised release plus the forfeiture of proceeds of offense.
via Bluff Magazine