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Baltimore feds target Internet gambling sites

Online GamblingOnline Gambling: Baltimore feds target Internet gambling sites

Phony company was set up to catch illegal betting businesses

Federal investigators in Baltimore set up a phony business — and handled $33 million in transactions from Internet gamblers — in a lengthy sting operation that led to the indictment of two online betting companies and their international owners.

Details were released Monday after 11 associated bank accounts were seized in five countries and 10 web domain names were shut down.

"It is illegal for Internet gambling enterprises to do business in Maryland, regardless of where the website operator is located," Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement Monday. "We cannot allow foreign website operators to flout the law simply because their headquarters are based outside the country."

The Maryland indictments, returned late last month, are the result of an undercover operation by Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore, a division of U.S. Customs and Immigration enforcement.

The agency created a payment-processing business — called Linwood Payment Solutions — and used it to infiltrate the world of online betting.

The company is described online as 10 years old, with 15 employees and annual sales of $760,000. A half-dozen Internet gambling companies ultimately relied on it to handle $33 million in transactions over the past two years, revealing a thriving criminal community in Maryland and beyond.

"There are numerous individuals in Maryland who have authorized payments to these [foreign] businesses," claims one agent's sworn affidavit, filed with court records.

Charged in the indictments are ThrillX Systems Ltd. and owners Darren Wright and David Parchomchuk, both of British Columbia, Canada; and K23 Financial Services (known as BMX Entertainment), run by defendant Ann Marie Puig, of San Jose, Costa Rica. They're all charged with running an illegal gambling business and money laundering through various websites seized Monday, including Truepoker.com and Funtimebingo.com.

Banners saying the websites had been shut down were expected to replace the pages Monday, though they had not yet been posted by Monday evening.

The defendants did not return messages left with their companies.

Similar indictments were unsealed in Manhattan federal court in mid-April, charging 11 defendants, including the founders of the three largest Internet gambling sites operating in America. Earlier this month, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that one of the defendants, Absolute Poker, had agreed to shut down U.S. operations and attempt to return player deposits.

The money made from illegal Internet gambling often funds organized crime, William Winter, the special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore, said in a statement.

"Together, with our law enforcement partners, we will disrupt and dismantle organizations that commit these crimes, regardless of their location," Winter said.

Court records claim that ThrillX and K23 run illegal gambling businesses based outside the U.S., but that they mostly deal with American customers, relying on third-party "payment processors" to move money between their companies and the gamblers.

Investigators designed Linwood to act as a processor, giving it a website and a staff of undercover Homeland Security Investigations agents tasked with gaining "person-to-person contact with top managers of gambling organizations," prosecutors said in a statement.

They declined to discuss the phony company further.

A call to Linwood wasn't answered Monday. The covert company claims to have "over 10 years of team industry experience" on its web page — paymentprocessingsolutions.com — and to specialize in "global transaction processing" among other things.

A business status report from the New Jersey Treasury Department says Linwood was incorporated in Utah.

Agents claim that Linwood processed gambling transactions for the defendants using banks in Portugal, Malta, Panama, The Netherlands and the United States — more than 300,000 transactions in a two-year period. The bank accounts were seized.

If convicted of running an illegal gambling business, the defendants face a maximum of five years in prison. Money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

The following Internet domain names will be seized pursuant to federal court order:

  • Bookmaker.com
  • 2Betsdi.com
  • Funtimebingo.com
  • Goldenarchcasino.com
  • Truepoker.com
  • Betmaker.com
  • Betgrandesports.com
  • Doylesroom.com
  • Betehorse.com
  • Beted.com

Thanks to four4me for the tip.

Baltimore Sun

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21 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by CutlassBob.
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rdgrnr's avatar - walt
Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
United States
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April 28, 2009
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Offline
Posted: May 23, 2011, 8:54 pm - IP Logged

It just kills the feds to know people are making money and they're not confiscating half of it off the top before they ever get to see it.

Drives 'em absolutely nuts.


                                             
                     
                                         

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                   

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                            --Edmund Burke

 

 

    Tenaj's avatar - michellea
    Charlotte NC
    United States
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    June 18, 2005
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    Posted: May 23, 2011, 9:00 pm - IP Logged

    What?So, if for 2 years they had 33 millions dollars in transations with a fake company, who got the profits? The Feds? They made money right.

    takeemtothebank

      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
      United States
      Member #73904
      April 28, 2009
      14903 Posts
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      Posted: May 23, 2011, 9:09 pm - IP Logged

      What?So, if for 2 years they had 33 millions dollars in transations with a fake company, who got the profits? The Feds? They made money right.

      They handled 33 million in transactions and seized 11 bank accounts.

      Doesn't really say what they netted.


                                                   
                           
                                               

       

       

       

       

                                                                                                         

      "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                  --Edmund Burke

       

       

        Tenaj's avatar - michellea
        Charlotte NC
        United States
        Member #17406
        June 18, 2005
        4053 Posts
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        Posted: May 23, 2011, 9:14 pm - IP Logged

        They handled 33 million in transactions and seized 11 bank accounts.

        Doesn't really say what they netted.

        That's what I'm saying.  They had to make a profit from the 33 million in transations.  Just saying.

        takeemtothebank

          rdgrnr's avatar - walt
          Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
          United States
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          Posted: May 23, 2011, 9:20 pm - IP Logged

          That's what I'm saying.  They had to make a profit from the 33 million in transations.  Just saying.

          I'd say you're right.

          Making (confiscating) money is Job One with the feds.


                                                       
                               
                                                   

           

           

           

           

                                                                                                             

          "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                      --Edmund Burke

           

           

            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
            Chief Bottle Washer
            New Jersey
            United States
            Member #1
            May 31, 2000
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            Posted: May 23, 2011, 10:42 pm - IP Logged

            To me, it appears the Feds screwed up and this operation was a big mistake.  TWO YEARS of running a huge fake banking scheme, and they have zero arrests.  Just indictments.  Seems to me the biggest losers are not the offshore companies that lost some pretty worthless domain names, but the average citizens who apparently are losing all their money that they wagered.

            I wish the Feds would just cut it out, and stop mucking around with the Internet.  Or, if they're going to insist on mucking around with the Internet, how about just focusing on child predators or something truly vile?  Or how about sticking to tracking terrorists using the Internet to communicate?

            I'm really sick of the fact that people who simply want to spend their money as they choose is being considered a crime.  How about cracking down on something that INFRINGES on liberty, and stop cracking down on people EXPRESSING their liberty.

             

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              GEORGIA
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              August 22, 2008
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              Posted: May 23, 2011, 10:45 pm - IP Logged

              To me, it appears the Feds screwed up and this operation was a big mistake.  TWO YEARS of running a huge fake banking scheme, and they have zero arrests.  Just indictments.  Seems to me the biggest losers are not the offshore companies that lost some pretty worthless domain names, but the average citizens who apparently are losing all their money that they wagered.

              I wish the Feds would just cut it out, and stop mucking around with the Internet.  Or, if they're going to insist on mucking around with the Internet, how about just focusing on child predators or something truly vile?  Or how about sticking to tracking terrorists using the Internet to communicate?

              I'm really sick of the fact that people who simply want to spend their money as they choose is being considered a crime.  How about cracking down on something that INFRINGES on liberty, and stop cracking down on people EXPRESSING their liberty.

              I totally agree with you.

                Technics's avatar - me 20prista%202a.jpg
                Baltimore
                United States
                Member #80332
                September 24, 2009
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                Posted: May 23, 2011, 10:54 pm - IP Logged

                amazing , yet they cant stop the influx of cocaine thats coming into the united states borders via miami and mexico.......wooooooooooooooow !!!


                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  Chief Bottle Washer
                  New Jersey
                  United States
                  Member #1
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                  Posted: May 23, 2011, 11:01 pm - IP Logged

                  They handled 33 million in transactions and seized 11 bank accounts.

                  Doesn't really say what they netted.

                  The story says $33 million in transactions, not 33 million transactions.

                  That means people are out $33 million because of the fake banking scheme created by the Feds.

                   

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                    rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                    Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                    United States
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                    April 28, 2009
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                    Posted: May 23, 2011, 11:07 pm - IP Logged

                    To me, it appears the Feds screwed up and this operation was a big mistake.  TWO YEARS of running a huge fake banking scheme, and they have zero arrests.  Just indictments.  Seems to me the biggest losers are not the offshore companies that lost some pretty worthless domain names, but the average citizens who apparently are losing all their money that they wagered.

                    I wish the Feds would just cut it out, and stop mucking around with the Internet.  Or, if they're going to insist on mucking around with the Internet, how about just focusing on child predators or something truly vile?  Or how about sticking to tracking terrorists using the Internet to communicate?

                    I'm really sick of the fact that people who simply want to spend their money as they choose is being considered a crime.  How about cracking down on something that INFRINGES on liberty, and stop cracking down on people EXPRESSING their liberty.

                    Yep, sounds like one of their Keystone Kops operations.

                    But as always, even though the only ones hurt were American citizens, in their minds, it's the thought that counts.

                    Yes, all incompetence and failure aside, they meant well.

                    Promotions all around!


                                                                 
                                         
                                                             

                     

                     

                     

                     

                                                                                                                       

                    "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                --Edmund Burke

                     

                     

                      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                      United States
                      Member #73904
                      April 28, 2009
                      14903 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: May 23, 2011, 11:10 pm - IP Logged

                      The story says $33 million in transactions, not 33 million transactions.

                      That means people are out $33 million because of the fake banking scheme created by the Feds.

                      I forgot the dollar sign.


                                                                   
                                           
                                                               

                       

                       

                       

                       

                                                                                                                         

                      "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                  --Edmund Burke

                       

                       

                        danyo1332's avatar - 198208 10150427293015037_578305036_17777547_4875050_n
                        clinton, ohio
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                        July 22, 2010
                        1920 Posts
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                        Posted: May 24, 2011, 2:17 am - IP Logged

                        To me, it appears the Feds screwed up and this operation was a big mistake.  TWO YEARS of running a huge fake banking scheme, and they have zero arrests.  Just indictments.  Seems to me the biggest losers are not the offshore companies that lost some pretty worthless domain names, but the average citizens who apparently are losing all their money that they wagered.

                        I wish the Feds would just cut it out, and stop mucking around with the Internet.  Or, if they're going to insist on mucking around with the Internet, how about just focusing on child predators or something truly vile?  Or how about sticking to tracking terrorists using the Internet to communicate?

                        I'm really sick of the fact that people who simply want to spend their money as they choose is being considered a crime.  How about cracking down on something that INFRINGES on liberty, and stop cracking down on people EXPRESSING their liberty.

                        Couldn't have said it any better!

                        http://www.lotterypost.com/thread/231108 My Definite Double System

                        http://www.lotterypost.com/thread/231369 My P4 to P3 Pair System

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                          bootleg233's avatar - Lottery-034.jpg
                          Tn
                          United States
                          Member #54963
                          September 4, 2007
                          1164 Posts
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                          Posted: May 24, 2011, 6:57 am - IP Logged

                          To me, it appears the Feds screwed up and this operation was a big mistake.  TWO YEARS of running a huge fake banking scheme, and they have zero arrests.  Just indictments.  Seems to me the biggest losers are not the offshore companies that lost some pretty worthless domain names, but the average citizens who apparently are losing all their money that they wagered.

                          I wish the Feds would just cut it out, and stop mucking around with the Internet.  Or, if they're going to insist on mucking around with the Internet, how about just focusing on child predators or something truly vile?  Or how about sticking to tracking terrorists using the Internet to communicate?

                          I'm really sick of the fact that people who simply want to spend their money as they choose is being considered a crime.  How about cracking down on something that INFRINGES on liberty, and stop cracking down on people EXPRESSING their liberty.

                          I Agree! People arent allowed to live how they choose and spend what they want on what they want in America anymore!! I say if you arent hurting anyone spend as you will on what you will and if it is to good to be true then thats your chance to take........

                          WHEN IT FEELS THE WHOLE WORLD SUCKS!

                          RELAX.........IT'S ONLY GRAVITY Big Smile

                          I think I can I think I can!!!!

                            PlanB's avatar - Lottery-002.jpg
                            Somewhere in TX
                            United States
                            Member #105994
                            February 10, 2011
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                            Posted: May 24, 2011, 7:00 am - IP Logged

                            amazing , yet they cant stop the influx of cocaine thats coming into the united states borders via miami and mexico.......wooooooooooooooow !!!

                            Also stop all the illegal alians that are coming into the U.S. that's costing us more than any $33 million internet gambling site.