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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Neteller Announces Plan to Return US Funds

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On July 18th, Neteller issued a press release detailing the company's settlement with the US Attorney's office which will lead to the return of nearly $60 Million to US customers that had been frozen in transit by the US government.

The settlement included Neteller signing a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that admits to operating "an unlicensed money transmitting business and had participated in the performance of financial transactions for the purpose of promoting unlawful transactions between internet gambling merchants and persons located in the US." The US Attorney's Office (USAO) has agreed to defer prosecution for a period of two years, after which the criminal information will be dismissed, provided the company abides by all the terms of the agreement for that two year period.

Neteller also agreed to pay the US $136 Million in fines for the activities in question. This is in addition to the $100 Million that Neteller founders John Lefebvre and Steve Lawrence agreed to pay the US as part of their guilty pleas on federal money laundering charges earlier in the month.

Other parts of the deal include Neteller's agreement to cooperate with the USAO in other ongoing investigations and "to fully implement procedures and controls to prevent illegal transactions between internet gambling merchants and persons located in the US and to continue to retain Navigant Consulting Inc., a forensic accounting firm, to monitor Neteller's compliance with these procedures and controls."

US Players who still have money in Neteller have waited for months to hear details of how they can get their money. The agreement with the USAO has detailed the method by which players will be able to withdraw their funds, which can begin on July 30. Neteller will contact individual customers with details on how they can make their one-time withdrawal no later than July 30. Players cannot transfer funds, they can only make one withdrawal, which must be for the full balance of their accounts.

Ron Martin, President & CEO, said "This agreement resolves the USAO's investigation relating to the Company's former US business activities. We believe that this settlement is in the best interests of NETELLER and its shareholders."

"Our customers, employees and shareholders have all patiently waited for this resolution. We anticipate within the next few weeks that we will have fully implemented the plan for the return of funds to our US customers[.]"
The greater concern for large US-based affiliates and poker players is the information that the "forensic accounting" firm has discovered in Neteller's financial records, and what that will mean for US gamblers who may have been less than complete in their tax returns for the past few years. While the recreational gambler should have little to worry about, poker players with six-figure Neteller balances might want to take a minute to hire an accountant of their own.

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