BREAKING: More Gambling Domains Seized Upd. 9

May 23, 2011 - 5:38 PM EDT
By

Most recent update: 5/23 11:45 PM EST.

A Maryland federal grand jury indicted two more online gambling businesses today.

Subject: Poker has not yet received the full indictment, but an affidavit from a Maryland Homeland Security special agent reveals many of the details of the case. Charged in the affidavit are two companies and their owners: ThrillX Systems Ltd., owned by Darren Wright and David Parchomchuk and K23 Financial Services (BMX Entertainment), run by Ann Marie Puig. The charges include running an illegal gambling business and money laundering. These charges are noteworthy because bank fraud is absent.

Ten domain names and eleven bank accounts were seized in six different countries. Here is the full list of seized domain names:

  • Bookmaker.com
  • Truepoker.com
  • Doylesroom.com
  • Beted.com
  • Betehorse.com
  • Betgrandesports.com
  • Goldbnarchcasino.com
  • Funtimebingo.com
  • 2Betdsi.com

The Baltimore Sun reports that the domains were meant to be changed to a banner announcing the seizures by mid-afternoon Monday, but that they have not yet been changed.1

The affidavit reveals that the government conducted an undercover operation, starting their own payment processor named “Linwood Payment Solutions”. Undercover agents met with top managers of gambling organizations, recording those meetings. Linwood then processed millions of dollars in transactions during the past two years for a number of Internet gambling organizations including Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet, BetEd, K23 Limited, and Nemesis Group doing business as Chargestream Ltd.


Update 5/23/2011 6:06 PM EST:
The affidavit cites Maryland Criminal Code section 12-102: “Betting, wagering, gambling, and related activities are prohibited…” The UIGEA and other US law makes violating this Maryland state law a federal crime.

Update 5/23/2011 6:15 PM EST:
According to a Maryland DOJ press release, many government agencies were involved in the investigation. These include the United States Attorney; the Maryland Department of Justice; the Maryland Department of Homeland Security; ICE-Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Philadelphia; IRS-Criminal Investigation; the Anne Arundel County Police Department; and the Maryland State Police.

Update 5/23/2011 7:06 PM EST:
Our reporters have received numerous reports and have confirmed that they are starting to see the government seizure message on the domains. The posted images list the Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations as the agency responsible. People with different internet service providers should start to see the message at different times.

The Yatahay web site lists as its partners five sites whose domains were seized today, one site that is no longer functioning, and betCRIS. Subject: Poker does not know if this was targeted at Yatahay specifically.

Update 5/23/2011 7:12 PM EST:
Subject: Poker has obtained the indictments. We will soon update with our analysis.

Update 5/23/2011 7:40 PM EST:
The indictments are very short. The first charges K23 Group Financial Services, doing business as BMX Entertainment, and Ann Marie Puig with “conducting gambling business” and money laundering. The second charges ThrillX Systems, Ltd, doing business as BetED.com, Darren Wright, and David Parchomchuk with the same. Both reference small transfers to back up the claims of money laundering.

Both indictments request forfeiture of all assets obtained directly or indirectly from the alleged crimes.

Update 5/23/2011 7:57 PM EST:
Both indictments specifically mention online sports betting and no other forms of gambling. They describe the businesses each as “a gambling business involving online sportsbetting [sic].” Though poker-only web sites like DoylesRoom.com and TruePoker.com were seized, it does not appear that these indictments were about poker.

Update 5/23/2011 9:08 PM EST:
Bookmaker.com has just issued a statement:

As you may already know, Bookmaker has temporarily lost the rights to the Bookmaker.com domain. We are confident that in time, it will be returned to us, until then, we have launched a new, temporary site:www.bmaker.ag.Despite having lost the domain, none of the business operations have otherwise been affected. Player account balances and information are safe and secure. Effective immediately, players can log on to www.bmaker.ag.and it’s business as usual.

You likely won’t notice any other changes at all and will experience all the same features and benefits as our original site; just on a new address.

We sincerely apologize if you were affected by our interruption. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please call our customer service department at 1-866-9Bookmaker.

Curiously, this alternative domain  bmaker.ag  was registered on 18 May 2011, a mere 5 days before the indictments and the seizures:

Domain Name:BMAKER.AG
Created On:18-May-2011 18:50:53 UTC

Did Bookmaker.com see this coming?

Update 5/23/2011 9:49 PM EST:
It seems that Truepoker has also switched to Truepoker.ag, which is now up and running. It was registered after the publication of the affidavit:

Domain Name:TRUEPOKER.AG
Created On:23-May-2011 22:15:20 UTC

It has been reported that Truepoker.com now redirects to Truepoker.ag for those people for whom the domain records have not yet updated to point Truepoker.com to the seizure notice.2

Update 5/23 11:45 PM EST:
Our resident legal expert Karak has written some quick notes about the press release and about the indictments.


Thanks everybody for your continued attention. We are done updating this article for now. If new revelations come up, they will receive their own article. To stay up to date, please subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter!

Edited on 5/23/2011 5:54 PM EST: Added footnote.
Edited on 5/23/2011 6:29 PM EST: Fixed spelling.
Edited on 5/23/2011 7:14 PM EST: Corrected misleading statement about Yatahay network and added link.
Edited on 5/23/2011 9:12 PM EST: Fixed spelling.
Edited on 5/24/2011 0:06 AM EST: Edited last paragraph, closing down live blog.
Edited on 5/24/2011 11:16 PM EST: Fixed spelling.

Footnotes

  1. When a domain is changed to point to another location, these changes can take up to 48 hours to take effect globally. That might be what is meant here.
  2. As described in 1. these seizures take time to propagate worldwide.

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6 Responses to BREAKING: More Gambling Domains Seized Upd. 9

  1. Rob C
    May 23, 2011 at 8:31 PM EDT

    While I am not happy with this round of indictments be ready for the piling on to begin. With supposedly billions of gambling money floating around any state with half a standing will be joining in. After the owners are identified there will be a whole new round of tax evasion and civil suits to finish off what is left of the US online gaming industry.

    FYI, From experience I can tell you that the US DOJ is moving at lightning speed since the final UIGEA regulations went into effect.

  2. Michael
    May 23, 2011 at 10:05 PM EDT

    Sweet. Instead of worrying about pedophiles, rapists, burglars, and murderers.. the government is worried about how grown adults spend their money on poker website. How about working with these poker websites & taxing them instead of taking them down, costing these poker players all of their money?

    • Matt H
      May 24, 2011 at 4:20 PM EDT

      “Sweet. Instead of worrying about pedophiles, rapists, burglars, and murderers.. the government is worried about how grown adults spend their money on poker website. How about working with these poker websites & taxing them instead of taking them down, costing these poker players all of their money?” AMEN Lost complete faith in this country which is a shame because I was once a real patriot. Very strongly considering just leaving and never looking back.

  3. Justin
    May 23, 2011 at 11:48 PM EDT

    “Curiously, this alternative domain bmaker.ag was registered on 18 May 2011, a mere 5 days before the indictments and the seizures … Did Bookmaker.com see this coming?”

    Makes you wonder about the timing of Doyle dissociating himself with Doyle’s Room as well.

  4. WTFrUtalkingAbout
    May 24, 2011 at 1:16 PM EDT

    Rob C,

    What kind of sky falling BS are you trying to spout. You do know that Wa DC was the first state to recently legalize online poker right? And Nevada is pushing very hard right now to get it legalized as well with casino corps pouring in millions to lobby it. Additionally, there have been tons of back and forth talks with Cali doing interstate only online poker.

    Also, lightning speed? Yes, half a decade since UIGEA went into affect definitely ‘lightning speed’

    LOL at your perspective.

    WTFrUtalkingAbout

    • Rob C
      June 2, 2011 at 1:23 PM EDT

      Considering the UIGEA regulations only went into effect in mid 2010 the US government IS moving at lightning speed. The speed of an investigation is purely dependent on the ultimate goal of the investigating body. The two rounds of indictments and the targets of the investigations shows us their ultimate resolution. SDNY specifically warned off Maryland from its investigation and sting operation which is why nobody will be arrested. The DOJ is operating under a specific set of instructions only AG Holder and Pareet(sp) understand.
      My guess is the Reid Bill and the eventual legalization of online poker forced them to conclude and unseal the indictments. In over 20 years of LE investigations I have never seen the Feds move so fast.

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