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Feds seize $24 million tied to online gambling website Bodog

Feds seize $24 million tied to online gambling website Bodog After months of quite time in the online gambling industry, the Feds are back in full force, seizing $24 million from bank accounts tied to gambling website Bodog. As reported by Forbes, court filings in Maryland say that in January and February a total of $14.2 million was seized from accounts in the name of JBL Services and Transaction Solutions at Wachovia, Regions Bank, Bank of America and Sun Trust Bank. In July, filings say, another $9.9 million was found in eight accounts at Nevada State Bank, a unit of Zion Bancorporation (nasdaq: ZION - news - people ), in the name of Zaftig Instantly Processed Payments, doing business as The companies are described as helping to facilitate parts of the Bodog operation.

 The court papers detail an elaborate international structure put together to allow Bodog to collect money and write checks to winning gamblers in the U.S. One affidavit by Randall S. Carrow, a special agent with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division, said that $248 million involving entities linked to Bodog was processed through Wachovia Bank, from which $11 million of the $24 million was seized.

 In a statement to Forbes, Wachovia said the bank cooperated with law enforcement, doesn't knowingly allow Internet gaming operations to open accounts, and the funds ending up at the bank were in accounts of a third-party credit card servicer. The statement also hinted that various accounts might have been kept open at the request of investigators to aid their efforts.

 According to Carrow's detailed sworn statements, the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division started looking at Bodog in 2003 and opened a formal probe in 2006. The extensive sleuthing has involved close examination of public and bank records, the enlisting of unnamed cooperating witnesses and informants, and undercover efforts to make bets on football and collect winnings. A break in the inquiry came in May, one of Carrow's affidavits says, when an undercover operative for "another state's gambling commission" received a check that didn't bounce from an account at Nevada State Bank, which is headquartered in Las Vegas. That led to the $9.9 million seizure this month. The bank had no immediate comment.

 Carrow's affidavits were filed in connection with the U.S.'s successful efforts to get a federal judge to authorize the seizures. But to keep the money permanently, federal prosecutors must file a civil lawsuit and allow a challenge by anyone with a claimed interest. No one fought the $14.2 million seizure, and it was ordered forfeited to the feds. The lawsuit over the $9.9 million--its official name is United States of America v. $9,869,283.05--was just filed. Read more at Forbes.

 Published on 07/31/2008

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