Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

FBI Arrests Former NETELLER Executives

Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre Detained While Traveling Separately

Print-icon
 

Two former NETELLER executives were detained while traveling separately through the United States yesterday (Jan. 15) in "connection with the creation and operation of an Internet payment services company that facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds from United States citizens to the owners of various Internet gambling companies located overseas," according to the U.S. Attorney General's office of Southern New York.

NETELLER suspended trading its shares on the London Stock Exchange in light of the detention of founding members Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre. Besides owning stock in NETELLER, the two do not hold any positions with the company.

NETELLER is an "e-Wallet" service that allows people to transfer money directly from their bank accounts to other parties. It's the main service many online poker players and gamblers use to transfer money in and out of their preferred sites.

Here's the complete release from the U.S. Attorney's office:

"U.S. Charges Two Founders of Payment Services Company with Laundering Billions of Dollars of Internet Gambling Proceeds

Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, the Assistant Director in charge of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that Stephen Eric Lawrence and John David Lefebvre were arrested yesterday in connection with the creation and operation of an Internet payment services company that facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds from United States citizens to the owners of various Internet gambling companies located overseas."

NETELLER says it hasn't received any kind of correspondence from the U.S. government concerning this situation, and although the subject line of this email (sent by a media representative of the AG's office) says they were charged with money laundering, CardPlayer.com is working on confirming the exact charges.

Lawrence and Lefebvre each own close to 6 percent of the company's shares. Lawrence resigned as a non-executive director of the company in October; Lefebvre resigned from the same position in December of 2005.

Although Lefebvre and Lawrence do not and never have owned an online gambling site, they join a small club of men who have been arrested and charged by the Federal Government for violating various laws concerning online gambling, particularly money laundering.

Executives with online gambling companies Sportingbet and BetOnSports were arrested and charged with taking bets over the Internet (among other charges) in 2006, but this is the first time people affiliated with an "e-Wallet" have been targeted.

In October, President George W. Bush signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which is designed to curb online gambling by targeting banks that cooperate with online sites. The Treasury Department is still working out the details on how to enforce this law, and has until summer to do so.

NETELLER is based in the Isle of Man, and neither Lawrence nor Lefebvre is a U.S. citizen.

Please click here to visit CardPlayer.com's special section on the law and the Internet.

 
 
Tags: poker law
 
 

Comments

357sig
over 13 years ago

Our government is absolutely out of control. But, in spite of these circumstance voters continue to re-elect the same people who seem bent on destroying our freedoms. Why can't we elect new people who put the rights and wishes of our citizens as our representavives ?

 
Reply
 

larrykiller
over 13 years ago

When will all the showboating end a big to do about nothing just another misguided attempt to detract from the mess we have gotten in too!

 
Reply
 

BossCoho
over 13 years ago

It's the McCarthy hearings all over again.

 
Reply
 

zippyflounder
over 13 years ago

thank GHOD we voted the dems in, why they will clear this up in NO TIME..and if you believe that you likely call allins with gutshots.

 
Reply
 

OldBookGuy
over 13 years ago

It was not JUST the GOP behind this.
Read ALLYN JAFFREY SHULMAN'S complete columns.
The Far left & Far right together did this, moderates in each party voted no, a combo of the Dem's & GOP passed this.
Vote out extremists in BOTH parties!
We need neither.
Besides, I believe the same as ALLYN JAFFREY SHULMAN that the WTO will rule against the U S Gov. and hopefully then this will get straightened out.

 
Reply
 

PkrWolf
over 13 years ago

I must say upfront that I am no lawyer, nor do I aspire to be one. The only reason that I have even taken an interest in any of the legal issues is that it directly effects my livelyhood - poker. As such I have taken the same approach to the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act as I did to poker when I first started playing .... I read about it, alot.

It has never been illegal for US citizens to play poker for money online, nor does this new law make it so. It does make it illegal for US banks to transfer funds to offshore gambling sites. Which everyone should have known was coming (as I assume it will soon be illegal for banks to transfer funds to ANY merchant account out of the country). Many banks (and other financial institutions) have refused to allow debit card (or credit) withdrawls to ANY gambling establishment.

Has this hampered the Internet Gaming community? Absolutely. When Prohibition was enacted all the alcohol manufactureres were hit hard too. Did they bounce back? Absolutely. Will internet POKER gaming bounce back? Absolutely.

Were the arrests of the ex-Neteller justified? I think they were. The Wire Act strictly prohibits sports betting ..... that is what they were arrested for. I have not read anywere that they were arrested for accepting online poker money. As a matter of fact I have not read anywere that anyone has ever been arrested in the US for playing poker online. If they would (and I hope they do) then we would have a final decision by the government on this issue. Right now they seem satisfied to dance around the issue of internet poker.

THIS IS WHAT I FIND MOST AMUSING:
Literally millions of US poker players have voiced their opinions in forums all over the internet, most bashing the US government and its laws. Have these same players voiced that same opinion to their local, state or federal represenatives? NO. Have these same players tried to change these laws? NO. Has ANYONE you know even asked you write your local or state represenative and voice your opinion to them? I doubt it. What about asking you to ask your friends to do the same thing? Probably not..

CONCLUSION:

Put down your chips.
Get off your duffs.
WRITE YOUR STATE REPRESENATIVES AND VOICE YOUR OPINONS AND ASK OTHERS TO DO THE SAME.

 
Reply
 

OldBookGuy
over 13 years ago

It was not JUST the GOP behind this. Read ALLYN JAFFREY SHULMAN'S complete columns. The Far left & Far right together did this, moderates in each party voted no, a combo of the Dem's & GOP passed this. Vote out extremists in BOTH parties! We need neither. Besides, I believe the same as ALLYN JAFFREY SHULMAN that the WTO will rule against the U S Gov. and hopefully then this will get straightened out.

 
Reply
 

thekohser
over 13 years ago

Ronald Gereaux's comment is off-base on one account -- MANY of us HAVE contacted our local, state, and federal lawmakers about the UIGE Act. Not only that, speaking for myself, I motivated at least three of my friends to do the very same thing. The only pro-UIGE politician that we were unable to unseat was the dreaded House Rep. Joe Pitts (R)-PA . . . but we'll give him the boot in 2008. By the way, in 1994, Pitts pledged that he would not become a "career politician" and vowed he would not spend more than 10 years in the House. Another LIE from Joe Pitts.

 
Reply