First guilty plea in US online poker case

May 24, 2011
Illustration. A man plays poker on his computer connected to an internet gaming site from his home in Manassas, Virginia. The American president of a Costa Rica-based company is facing up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to illegally processing payments for Internet poker firms.

The American president of a Costa Rica-based company is facing up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to illegally processing payments for Internet poker firms.

Bradley Franzen, 41, pleaded guilty in a Manhattan court to bank fraud, money laundering and offenses, Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

Franzen was one of 11 people charged last month in a crackdown on the three largest companies operating in the : PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

Most of the defendants are outside of the United States. Franzen is the first to enter a .

US law prohibits US banks and other financial institutions from knowingly accepting payments for online gambling made through credit cards, electronic funds transfers and checks.

Franzen and several other defendants were accused of helping to process billions of dollars for PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker by creating phony corporations and websites.

According to US authorities, Franzen arranged for gambling funds to be disguised as payments to a fictitious business called "Green2YourGreen," which claimed to sell environmentally-friendly household products.

Franzen, who is from Illinois and lives in Costa Rica, faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. His sentencing date has not yet been set.

While Internet gambling has been illegal in the United States since 2006, online poker remains a multi-billion-dollar industry with companies using a variety of ways to flout the law, including locating their operations offshore.

The US ban on Internet gambling has been challenged as an unfair trade restriction at the and some US lawmakers are seeking to have online gambling legalized.

Explore further: Facebook dressed down over 'real names' policy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poker domain names unfrozen to allow refunds

Apr 20, 2011

US authorities said Wednesday they were unfreezing the domain names of two online poker companies targeted in a crackdown on Internet gambling so US players could withdraw their money.

11 charged in US crackdown on online poker

Apr 15, 2011

Eleven people have been charged with bank fraud, money laundering, illegal gambling and other offenses in a crackdown on the three largest online poker companies operating in the United States.

Canadian charged in US in Internet gambling case

Aug 06, 2009

A Canadian resident was indicted in the United States on fraud and related charges for processing some 350 million dollars for Internet gambling firms, officials said Thursday.

Caesars CEO: Poker indictments present opportunity

Apr 26, 2011

(AP) -- Federal indictments targeting the three largest online poker companies present an opportunity for the United States to fully legalize and regulate the $6 billion industry, the chief executive of the world's largest ...

Group says poker winnings are frozen

Jun 10, 2009

(AP) -- An advocacy group for online poker said Tuesday that the federal government has frozen more than $30 million in the accounts of payment processors that handle the winnings of thousands of online poker players.

Recommended for you

Facebook dressed down over 'real names' policy

19 hours ago

Facebook says it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted profiles of self-described drag queens and others, but declined to change a policy requiring account holders to use their real names rather than drag names such as ...

Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

Sep 17, 2014

Online ratings operator Yelp agreed to pay $450,000 to settle US charges that it illegally collected data on children, in violation of privacy laws, officials said Wednesday.

User comments : 0