A local police department in Maryland is celebrating after participating in a federal sting operation which shut down major internet gambling operations. The Anne Arundel Police Department received a check for $470,000 after helping the feds seize online gaming companies that processed over $33 million dollars’ worth of transactions through the undercover processor. The money comes from a case handled by federal investigators in Baltimore and the operation was suitably named “Operation Texas Hold’em.”
William Winter, the agent in charge of the Department of Homeland Security in Baltimore, made a statement earlier regarding the seizure and explained how the feds set up a phony processing company and allowed the undercover agents contact with the online gaming operators. It’s illegal in the United States of America for companies to accept and/or process gaming transactions; which gave the feds ample reason to go undercover.
Through the sting operation the federal agents negotiated contracts with online gaming operators and began processing funds for the companies. The agents could easily track the payments to numerous operations and bank accounts in the United States and abroad. The accounts were seized in the recent bust and the monies were shared among the agencies that participated in the sting. The amount given to the Anne Arundel Police Department was based on the number of agents from the force that helped take down the online gaming operators.
The Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold made it clear that this was the biggest asset distribution in the history of the county, and the police department will use their share of the funds to buy equipment needed for the force. The police chief, James Teare, also made a statement regarding their share of the funds by saying:
“This is huge, especially in these economic times; we just went through a very tough budget where we’re getting vehicles taken away. This infuses money to be able [to buy] vehicles, weapons that are less lethal and to do training that is much needed for these officers to do their job.”
Some industry insiders believe this is just the beginning. It’s obvious that the government in the USA is serious about taking down online poker and this is proof. Time will tell how many operators will shift and take their business out of the USA, and as of now the bigger names in online poker have already done so. Poker players in the United States can still play online at selected sites, but with operations like these going on who knows what is in store for online poker sites in the near future.
For those of you who had your Quicktender – UseMyWallet Funds seized. This is the case that led to those funds being seized.
According to a report on eGaming Review, some Full Tilt Poker bank accounts have been unfrozen by the US Department of Justice to faciliate player paybacks. According to the report most of the funds seized on April 15th belonged to Full Tilt Poker which is something most in the poker community where beginning to figure out when Full Tilt couldn’t pay players. Over the last couple of weeks rumors had been going around that Full Tilt were trying to sell off part of the company in order to raise money to pay players in the US.
The Full Tilt source explained this resulted from players’ poker balances being credited with money held in bank accounts seized by authorities before Full Tilt itself had been made aware of the seizures. “Because of the broad-sweeping nature of the Black Friday seizures, you had a seizure combined with a backlog and this has resulted in millions which all of a sudden became owed,” the FTP source said.
“Normally Full Tilt would cover that and take that loss, but because all their banks got shut down there was no way of doing that until recently when the government agreed to unfreeze the [Bank of Ireland] account,” he said.
We hope that this means that players will soon get paid and be able to make it to Las Vegas for the WSOP which begins next week.
Earlier today they sent out this email message to all account holders.
Since our last email communication where we advised any funds in your QuickTender account could still be used to purchase at QuickTender accepting sites we had been working hard to reinstate our withdrawal facility and ensuring your funds where safe and secure.
However, further developments specifically relating to our main bank processing company have resulted in our accounts being frozen subject to a seizure order giving us no ability to make payments in any currency.
In light of these developments we have had no option but to discontinue the Quicktender service with immediate effect and for the foreseeable future.
At this time we are unable to confirm when or if we could make payments of remaining balances.
We will keep you advised of future relevant developments.
Quicktender – UseMyWallet issued the following press release today regarding the recent problems with recent transactions. It appears they still do not know the true issue of the problem but do fear that the US bank accounts used to process transactions have been seized by the US Department of Justice.
The management of Quicktender would like to make the following statement
regarding the current situation with UseMyWallet/Quicktender withdrawals:
We have operated a reputable and reliable payment mechanism for US customers
since 2006. Our reputation is important to us, and until recently there has
never been any question that players and merchants would be paid. In order
to achieve this, we have built over many years relationships with payment
intermediaries that share our values of honesty and integrity. In the
jurisdictions from which we offer our services we are proud to be properly
licensed and constituted, and have even worked with US law enforcement on
occasions where criminal activity has been identified.
However, we cannot always predict some of the vagaries of the US
administration. Over the past 2 weeks we have in good faith transmitted
withdrawals initiated by Quicktender account holders to beneficiary bank
accounts in the US. The money left our account in Europe. It was only in
response to increasing complaints from our customers that we recognised
there was a problem, and asked our bank to investigate. It emerges that the
money has been accumulated in our bank’s correspondent banking partners
accounts in the US, and has been frozen. We suspect it is possible that
these funds may be subject to a seizure order by the US authorities. We
would stress that we do not have bank accounts in the US of our own, and
that the funds have left our account Europe.
It is our express intention to ensure that the funds of our account holders
are safe. For this reason we have decided to suspend future withdrawals
until we understand what has happened to the money that has been frozen. If
we continue to transmit bank wires into the US we could find that these
funds also do not reach their ultimate beneficiaries. This would simply make
the problem worse.
We ask our customers to bear with us in these difficult times. Please be
assured that we have always honored our obligations in the past, and that we
will make every effort to overcome these current difficulties. It is not in
the interests of anybody to attempt to financially impact QuickTender
further. These actions may impact the future viability of the company and
the ability of the company to pay its customers. We are assessing our
current exposure, and how best to reintroduce withdrawals safely.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their past
loyalty, and to reiterate that we will take all possible steps to ensure
that our customers money is secure.