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Asset Search News Roundup: January 22, 2012

Posted in Asset Search News, Financial Institutions, Money Laundering

A principal of PokerStars pleads guilty and Nigerian advance fee frauds:

♦ The May 9, 2011 Asset Search News Roundup and Secreting Money Via Internet Gambling On The Isle Of Man, discussed criminal prosecutions against the principals of three internet gambling businesses.  One of the principals, Ira Rubin of PokerStars, just entered a guilty plea to counts 1, 8 & 9 of his superseding indictment.

These counts accused Mr. Rubin of violating: 31 U.S.C. § 5363 & 18 U.S.C. § 371 (illegal gambling conspiracy);  18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1344 & 1349 (conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud); and 18 U.S.C. § 1956 (h) (money laundering conspiracy).  Page 20 of Mr. Rubin’s indictment specifically claimed he was employed to process “…internet gambling transactions disguised as legitimate online merchant transactions, in order to trick U.S. banks into processing the transaction.”  Mr. Rubin’s docket report reveals he will next be sentenced on May 17, 2012.

♦ Authorities like Belgium’s CTIF-CFI, have long warned of Nigerian advance fee frauds, (i.e. “419 Scams”).  In the U.S., FinCEN considered these frauds at its October 2001 SAR Activity Review.  A 1997 publication from the U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, also analyzed advance fee frauds.  Determined criminals now facilitating them, typically send their intended victims “softening up” e-mails.

The e-mails promise to pay out inheritances, lottery winnings or other funds.  In their attempt to collect this phony inheritance, winnings, etc., the victims always end up advancing / losing some of their own money to the criminals.  One variation of the fraud starts out with an e-mail promising to pay for help transferring monies from a supposed Holocaust claim fund.  A January 18th e-mail thought to be part of this kind of fraud, is available here.

Copyright 2012 Fred L. Abrams