The US Department of Justice has seized over $24 million from bank accounts linked to Bodog, the giant online gaming firm founded by Canadian entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
According to a report from Forbes magazine, two separate lawsuits filed against Bodog by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland in Baltimore saw subsequent seizures take place from institutions such as Wachovia, Bank of America, SunTrust Banks and Regions Bank, a unit of Regions Financial.
Court filings in Maryland revealed that a total of $14.2 million was seized from accounts in the name of JBL Services and Transaction Solutions in January and February while another $9.9 million was found last month in eight accounts at Nevada State Bank in the name of Zaftig Instantly Processed Payments doing business as ZipPayments.com. The companies were described as facilitating part of Bodog’s operation using an elaborate international structure to allow the Kahnawake-licensed firm to collect money and write cheques to winning US-based gamblers.
An affidavit from Randall Carrow, Special Agent with the US Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, affirmed that $248 million involving entities linked to Bodog was processed through Wachovia Bank from which eleven million dollars was seized. In a statement to Forbes, Wachovia stated that it was co-operating with law enforcement officials and didn’t knowingly allow Internet gaming operations to open accounts. The bank revealed that the seized funds were in accounts of a third-party credit card servicer while Forbes hinted that these might have been kept open at the request of investigators to aid their efforts.
The Internal Revenue Service revealed that it began looking into Bodog in 2003 and opened a formal probe in 2006 with close examinations of public and bank records, undercover operations involving placing bets on football games and then collecting winnings alongside enlisting witnesses and informants.