On Monday, more indictments were handed out to gambling websites, this time by the U.S. Attorney of Maryland. Eleven bank accounts and ten domains were seized; in addition, three people were indicted and charged with conducting an illegal gambling business and money laundering.
Darren Wright and David Parchomchuk of British Columbia were indicted, as was Ann Marie Puig of Costa Rica. The domains that were seized include Bookmaker.com, 2Betsdi.com, Funtimebingo.com, Goldenarchcasino.com, Truepoker.com, Betmaker.com, Betgrandesports.com, Betehorse.com, Beted.com, and Doylesroom.com.
According to a sworn affidavit, the defendants “own and manage illegal gambling businesses involving online sports betting.” This finding came as a result of Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore, Maryland opening an undercover payment processor business – Linwood Payment Solutions.
According to the affidavit, “Linwood allowed undercover agents to gain person-to-person contact with top managers of gambling organizations to discuss the Internet gambling business, to negotiate contracts and terms of the processing, and to handle the intricate movement and processing of collection and payment data from the gambling organizations to the banks.
“The affidavit alleges that on November 12, 2009, a Maryland-based online gambler and cooperating informant confirmed that he/she frequented gambling sites, opened accounts and gambled in Maryland. The gambler agreed to set up online gambling accounts and was provided $500 to place bets on gambling websites. The gambler created an account on a BetEd website and placed several bets. On March 30, 2010, BetEd used Linwood to wire transfer $100 in winnings to the gambler’s bank account.”
Since 2009, Linwood processed over 300,000 transactions for these companies worth more than $33 million, which included transactions for players in Maryland.
“It is illegal for internet gambling enterprises to do business in Maryland, regardless of where the website operator is located,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a press release regarding the indictments. “We cannot allow foreign website operators to flout the law simply because their headquarters are based outside the country.”
“These indictments are the direct result of impressive undercover investigative work by our agents, along with the close collaboration of our law enforcement partners here in Maryland,” said William Winter, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Baltimore. “The proceeds from illegal Internet gambling are often used to fuel organized crime and support criminal activity. ICE HSI will work diligently to uncover illicit transactions involving these types of financial crimes. Together, with our law enforcement partners, we will disrupt and dismantle organizations that commit these crimes, regardless of their location, whether here in the United States or abroad."
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the illegal gambling business charge and a maximum of 20 years in prison for the money laundering charge.