Seven people and four companies, among which there is a British Virgin Islands company, were charged last week with multiple felonies related to processing credit cards for gambling websites. The defendants are charged with bank fraud, violations of the wirewager act, and money laundering. They are accused of assisting gambling sites process $150 million in payments from U.S. bettors, by arranging Western Union wire transfers. The defendants created a Web service they called the Gateway, an automated collector and processor of illegal Internet gambling funding transactions; the Gateway misclassified the transactions to Visa and MasterCard, representing that the transactions have another purpose than gambling.
The companies that faced charges are CurrenC, also named as CurrenC WorldWide, based in the British Virgin Islands; Gateway Technologies and Hill Financial Services, based in Utah and Las Vegas; and BetUS, based in Canada.
It should be said that most online gambling is illegal in the United States. Investigators of the scheme stated that it â€œpurposefully misclassified credit card transactions to fool banks into processing Internet gambling charges”, and thus allowed the US bettors to spend money on the gambling websites. Some of the charges may carry criminal penalties of up to 30 years in prison.