|A Canadian man who helped create NETeller, a company that processed online gambling transactions, has pleaded guilty to US federal conspiracy charges just weeks after the company’s other co-founder entered a guilty plea of his own.|
John David Lefebvre entered the plea in US District Court in Manhattan where prosecutors are trying to stop companies that operate overseas from violating American laws against web-based gambling under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
Although NETeller is based in the Isle of Man, as part of his plea, Lefebvre has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify if necessary in order to avoid up to five years in prison. He also agreed to be partly responsible for the $100 million the US Government is seeking in restitution.
Lefebvre’s plea follows that of NETeller’s other Canadian co-founder, Stephen Lawrence, who admitted charges of criminal conspiracy two weeks ago. Both men were arrested in January after a probe of the company, after which the company, which was founded in 1999, stopped handling transactions for US customers.
The Government has said that nearly all of the $5.1 billion in transactions processed in the first half of last year involved online gambling with most of that generated by US customers.
Lefebvre and Lawrence are no longer on the company's Board after originally establishing the firm to enable the transfer of money online. However, the company eventually focused the majority of its business on online gambling transactions and by 2004 it had nearly 170 employees, 600,000 member accounts and 1,000 registered merchants.