Online Poker

US Govt Seizes $30 Million from Payment Processors

by Poker Team

In breaking news, late last night the Poker Players Alliance confirmed in a statement made to the Associated Press, that the U.S. Federal Government has taken perhaps its boldest action to date.  The government reportedly has frozen the accounts of a couple of payment processors which handle the winnings of online poker players which at least for the time being will prevent players from receiving their payouts.  This is affecting more than $30 million in player funds.

Specifically, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Arlo Devlin-Brown, instructed Citibank, Alliance Bank of Arizona and Goldwater bank to freeze the accounts.  Late last week, a warrant for seizure was issued for a San Francisco based Wells Fargo Bank and at the same time, federal prosecutors ordered Alliance Bank to do the same.  As part of the order of seizure, the prosecutor wrote that the accounts held by payment processor Allied System Inc. are being seized  “because they constitute property involved in money laundering transactions and illegal gambling offenses.”  The banks were also told that the frozen funds were to be treated at being seized by the FBI because the government has evidence to believe that the payment made by U.S. residents were being re-routed to offshore gambling enterprises.  The letter made note that the FBI has jurisdiction to take these funds without a warrant.

It appears that Allied Systems is in some serious trouble in this case as they were now under subpoena to hand over communications, financial transactions and processing services between the company and Internet gambling operations in addition to banking and corporate accounting records.

The PPA is sounded off loudly at this move with its executive director John Pappas, calling this maneuver an “unprecedented action” against online poker players.  The PPA is asking Devlin-Brown for formal notification as well as a forum to speak about this action because the seizure appears to be a blatant violation of due process and they are acting in the interests of the players and their funds because, he argues, that the seized money is property of the players and not the targeted online sites.  It is being reported that this situation is causing disruption to approximately 20,000 player accounts though the effected online sites have made assurances that players would not lose any money.

In an attempt to ease the anxiety of members of the online poker community, a representative from Full Tilt Poker named Doug, made the following post to poker forum

“Hi All,

Understandably, many of you have concerns regarding certain bank accounts with poker players’ money being frozen in the US, and I’d just like to reassure everyone that your funds remain safe and secure at FTP, and the processing of withdrawal requests is proceeding as normal and is still available to all of our players. I’ve been gathering information on our side to address some of the rumors and conjecture that have been flying around, and here’s what I know:

We have multiple check processors. Only one processor was affected by the current situation, and we don’t expect any further interruption in check withdrawals or any other withdrawal methods.
All players who were affected by this issue have had their money returned to their Full Tilt Poker account and all withdrawals are processing normally.
We always make sure we can cash out any of our players at any time. You should never have to worry that you won’t get your money, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure you always have plenty of methods available for both deposits and withdrawals.
eCheck deposits are temporarily unavailable, but we expect it to return as a deposit option sometime this week or next.
I’m not sure where this particular rumor started, but there are absolutely no plans to leave any market.
If you have any questions, or would like to know if there are more deposit or withdrawal options available that haven’t appeared in your cashier, please contact support and they will be happy to help you out.

Click on the following link for an official statement from Full Tilt Poker regarding the frozen funds.


This situation shows that the government is stating its position loud and clear and is drawing a line in the stand.  Now more than ever, there is an increasing sense of urgency for online poker regulation as it seems in the midst of a worldwide financial crises, the U.S. government appears quite willing to take on online gambling and the online poker world in general.

  • http://apandpokerstars dennis manley

    well your arguement sound well and good. however the feds have run down moe that 1 processer. i have several friends that took checks to their bamks and as soon as they tried to cash their persoonal accounts were frozen. period. end of the hunt. so you better make sure when your telling people your hip to what is really goin on. the feds are screwing us with no kiss pals.

  • April_peerless

    good place to start…

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