US Department of Justice Refutes Claims of Payment Processors

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) refuted the claims made by indicted payment solutions. It was claimed by some payment processors earlier this year, that Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars are not gambling platforms. Hence it was not an illegal act to process transactions for the sites. In response to these claims, the DOJ litigated the case against the entire industry of online poker.

DOJ Claims the Defendants have Misused the US Financial System

The co-owner and former vice-chairman of SunFirst Bank, John Campos along with Chad Elie who owns a business in online poker transactions, made court filings earlier this year. Both Elie and Campos claimed that the act of payment processors offering services to poker rooms is in line with US laws. A 51 page response was given by the DOJ stating that not only Elie and Campos but the entire online poker industry is at fault. The claims regarding poker being a game of skill and not chance, were refuted by the government.

Federal Prosecutors Bring in New Allegations against PokerStars Founder

New allegations have been brought against the founder of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg. Federal prosecutors state that Scheinberg stole $4 million from a poker transaction account of the National Bank of California by transferring the money to himself. He allegedly did the job with Elie’s assistance. The legal filings state that Elie paid back a part of the cash for which Scheinberg had to hire him. It was to handle some transactions of the online poker.

The government also alleged that following the suspension of some payment processors, PokerStars along with other indicted poker rooms sought other payment solutions. Utah Bank of Campos and SunFirst were approached by Elie. They handled about $200 million transactions of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

Actions Violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

Federal prosecutors claimed that Elie’s acts violated the Illegal Gambling Business Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It has been stated by the DOJ that the government did not intend to eliminate online poker from the statutes of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Had this been the case, the department would have done it in a clear manner.

Federal prosecutors highlighted the fact that the wording of the law has been changed considerably by lawmakers so that the bill is applicable to ‘chance based games’ rather than ‘predominantly chanced based games’. Government filings also rejected the claims made by Elie and Campos that about 9 activities which the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act mentions, are not applicable to poker.

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