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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Processor Admits Role|in Online Poker Fraud

MANHATTAN (CN) - A payment processor pleaded guilty Tuesday to money laundering connected to a scheme that resulted in the fraudulent processing of hundreds of millions of dollars in online gambling transactions for the three leading poker websites shut down last year.

Ryan Lang worked directly with senior executives from Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. He was charged along with the companies last year in a civil racketeering and money-laundering lawsuit that shut down the gambling websites.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz accepted Lang's plea.

"Because United States banks were largely unwilling to process Internet gambling payments, companies turned to third party payment processors, including Lang, who were willing to disguise the payments so they would appear to be unrelated to Internet gambling," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. "

"From at least 2007 through May 2010, Lang brokered a series of relationships between senior executives at the poker companies and various payment processors who had the ability to electronically transfer funds both to and from U.S. customer bank accounts as 'electronic checks' or 'e-checks.' As Lang knew - and discussed with executives from the poker companies - payment processors working for the poker companies created phony shell companies to disguise the poker transactions so that banks would not learn that the payments were connected to Internet gambling."

Lang, 37, a Canadian citizen and resident, faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Three other defendants charged alongside Lang have also pleaded guilty in the last year. Charges are still pending against two others, who face trial in April.

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