Online Poker Processors Forfeit $13.3 Million to FBI
by Scott Carlson, Rakeback.com Staff Writer
Allied Systems and Allied Wallet, two payment processors owned by Ahmad Khawaja, signed a forfeiture agreement with the US Government last month relinquishing $13.3 million seized from their bank accounts at Goldwater Bank in Scottsdale, AZ in June 2009. The US Government alleged the funds “constituted proceeds of operating an illegal gambling business.” The two firms processed funds from online poker sites such as PokerStars to their customers. The civil complaint was agreed to in order to avoid additional civil and criminal charges.
Since the UIGEA was passed in 2006 the US Government has pursued the processors of payments between poker sites and the poker players. A PokerStars spokesperson offered an official statement; “PokerStars does not condone efforts by processors to conceal the nature or purpose of funds used to play online poker. PokerStars has taken steps to ensure that processors properly disclose the nature of their business to their relevant financial institutions.” PokerStars has long taken the stance that online poker does not violate any current US laws. PokerStars has also indicated they have legal opinions from several US law firms confirming their stance.
This forfeiture comes on the heels of the US Attorney in Manhattan forcing Canadian payment processor Douglas Rennick to forfeit $583 million. In that case the US Government cited the processing of funds as a violation of the Wire Act. Rennick is scheduled to be sentenced in Federal Court next week. He is expected to receive a 6-12 month jail sentence.