MANHATTAN (CN) - An Australian man was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday and charged with helping illegal Internet gambling companies launder $543 million, "disguising the transactions ... so that they would appear unrelated to gambling," federal prosecutors said. Daniel Tzvetkoff conspired with others to transfer and launder more than half a billion dollars from February 2008 to March 2009, according to the 4-count indictment.
Tzvetkoff is charged with conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors also seek forfeiture of "at least $543,210,092 in United States currency."
In announcing the arrest, the U.S. Attorney's Office added: "In March 2009, Tzvetkoff stopped processing Internet gambling transactions after leading Internet gambling Web sites accused him of stealing approximately $100 million from them."
Before that happened, however, "Tzvetkoff and his co-conspirators created dozens of shell companies with names unrelated to gambling - complete with phony Web sites that made the companies seem legitimate - and represented to banks that the ACH [Automated Clearing House] transactions were on behalf of these companies," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
It added: "On May 3, 2008, one of Tzvetkoff's co-conspirators in an email told Tzvetkoff that he had hired programmers to develop 'unique' Web sites for the shell companies so that if someone was 'checking the companies out there is absolutely no way to tie the companies together.'
"Tzvetkoff responded: 'This is all perfect!'"
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